This week I traversed City Park in New Orleans, as I've done countless times before on my morning runs. But, on this post-Ida morning I saw destruction and devastation. Debris, broken tree limbs, and flooding were left in the wake of the storm. Nearby stores were closed for shopping, no pharmacies were open for filling necessary prescriptions, street lights were out from downed power lines -- and that's the way things will be for the foreseeable future.
As natural disasters so often do, Hurricane Ida's devastation has exposed inequalities that existed long before the storm. There were thousands of families who weren't able to afford to evacuate because of the cost of hotel rooms, food, and other necessities. Incarcerated people's ability to evacuate was up to the will of the state -- not their own.
It is not lost on any of us that Hurricane Ida struck almost exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina. In many ways, the people of Louisiana have been repairing damage to structures and lives for the last 15 years.
It's clear our fight for equality must continue. We must be committed to achieving fairness in housing, education, voting rights, criminal justice reform, and so much more. And we must pursue these goals together in the hopes of realizing mutual freedom and liberation.
None of us is above misfortune and tragedy. We all must come together to build the support systems we need to survive and thrive -- during the hard times and the best of times.