Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



What's the 411? —An ACT of Cowardice
by Preston S., MSW

This article shared 2933 times since Sat Oct 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

'God Bless the Chile that got his own, that got his ooown!'

— Billie Holiday

Hurricane Katrina, the most devastating storm in American history, has surely left its mark on the 21st century. It has caused havoc and affected us all in the most haunting ways. Yet, the subtext could be labeled a tragic tale starring the haves and have nots of the Deep South.

Like many Americans, I recoiled in horror as tears welled in my eyes and rolled down my face in horror as the category five, turned four hurricane struck. Within hours, the waves devastated the Gulf Coast communities, especially New Orleans and Biloxi. Like so many concerned folks, I immediately called to New Orleans to make sure that my loved ones were not caught in the storm and to see what I could do to assist others. I, like many other families, was told that my loved ones did make it out of the storm's path. However, like other coastal families and communities, my loved ones lost everything, including their way of life.

The inhumane travesty followed Katrina's wrath. Thousands of disenfranchised United States citizens ( appropriately 67% African Americans ) were instantly destitute, without food, water, shelter, or sanitary conditions for days that probably felt like an eternity for the victims of Katrina. Many families without ample means to evacuate sought refuge in the New Orleans Superdome and Convention Center. Ironically, it was a trauma within itself as putrid conditions were revealed on national television along with countless rapes and attacks upon young girls.

Latino scholar, Arturo Madrid, shared that Americans downplay the significance and consequence of otherness. Dominant culture's insensitivity regarding minority populations may stem from the belief that 'others' is often synonymous with 'unequal' or 'undeserving'. On United States waters, citizens were again being treated less than animals, left to fend for themselves.

Some Americans reactivated their stereotypes regarding the mostly Black New Orleans citizens, deeming the folks as animalistic and dangerous 'looters'. Unfortunately, this belief was reinforced by some media outlets. The Americans discovered that many traumatized people were trying to feed and clothe their starving families due to the lack of governmental action. Clearly, some individuals did take advantage of the catastrophe, but not the majority of survivors. Opportunists were not exclusively made up of one racial group, despite the one-sided media images that had been captured.

But, in the end, the negative stereotypical view—generated to describe otherness in a pejorative fashion based upon the color ideology in the sweet land of liberty—prevailed.

How could this preventable catastrophe occur in the land of milk, honey, and plenty? The destitute and weak had the least power and practically no voice, despite their constant cries for assistance. Politicians may have simply considered the Katrina survivors as collateral damage and chose not to move quickly. The victims were not only ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, but further disregarded by an apathetic government—as if they were refuse.

I was enraged and embarrassed that the federal government stifled response to assist our own disaster victims. I, then, signed up to volunteer my time by helping out on a local hotline trying to round up resources for relocated families. It was not much, but at least it was a small way that I could help others and simply just talk.

Many may wonder, why should the LGBT community take notice and pay attention? I just heard that a local religious minister declared that Hurricane Katrina was God's wrath on New Orleans for hosting Southern Decadence and Mardi Gras!

The LGBT community must take heed to this pain because we experienced the same apathy during the initial AIDS crisis in America. Once upon a time, the American government deemed countless infected gay men, Haitian refugees, intravenous drug users, and sex workers as collateral damage and allowed them to die needlessly due to their inaction. Repeatedly, President Bush and Michael Brown, [ now former ] President of the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) , reassured all that assistance would be coming quickly. The survivors were promised before fellow Americans and God that the United States had been acting in good faith to assist the ailing, displaced and the dying.

As I looked at the countless stranded men, women and children living in dire straits, literally begging for assistance, it reminded me of the our countless HIV-impacted folks begging for governmental intervention. Cameras captured the horrific conditions and toxic waters littered with debris, excrement, urine and the dead bloated bodies for all to witness in the world's richest nation. There wasn't anything powerful nor super about our country's lackluster response. Time passed—hours turned into days and the overflowing, blood-filled waters rose in the land of dixie.

American citizens continued to die, suffering in squaller just like AIDS-infected persons who also waited and expired in the early '80s. The American government went missing in action, only caveat here was that a different Republican was in the White House.

Both events were deemed unfortunate, as unworthy and disposable human cargo paid the price, so long as the mainstream culture was not affected. Where was the humanity? Where is the love? Is there any love now? When Americans saw no swift decisiveness regarding the catastrophe, we were sickened and shocked as a nation. Only then did the guilt-ridden President try to save face and help the evacuees after the world and fellow Americans criticized his inhumane treatment.

How could this happen again in the land of the so-called free and home of the brave? How could the Jazz Mecca, the original soul of the South, end up resembling a third-world disaster? New Orleans was left to drown in toxic waves when the White House knew about the sinking levees but chose to go the 'cheap route' by allocating only $40 million instead of the $105 million New Orleans asked for in 2004? Now, the nation is paying more than $120 billion in disaster relief, which promises to rise in the coming months!

The incredibly slow response to Americans, mostly of African descent, in utter despair is despicable, as the leader of the 'greatest nation in the world' repeatedly told its citizens that the federal government was moving as quickly as it could in response. Should it matter that many of the New Orleans, Biloxi, and Gulf Coast citizens were trapped living in poor dwellings and in some cases living paycheck to paycheck, as millions are being given to special interest projects in Alaska?

In the year 2005, we are left to wonder—why? Why did this have to tragedy have to happen? It appears that socioeconomic status and race still are factors in the land of freedom. If our commander-in-chief only had a brain ... or a heart. ... or the courage to act justly ... Just Wicked. Just Wicked.

This article shared 2933 times since Sat Oct 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans woman killed, Tenn. law, S. Carolina coach, Evan Low, Idaho schools 2024-04-12
- Twenty-four-year-old Latina trans woman and makeup artist Meraxes Medina was fatally shot in Los Angeles, according to the website them, citing The Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Times they found Medina's broken fingernail and a ...

Gay News

LPAC, Arizona LGBTQ officials denounce Arizona Supreme Court ruling on abortion 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Yesterday, in a decision that starkly undermines reproductive freedoms, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled to enforce a 160-year-old law that criminalizes abortion and penalizes healthcare providers who ...

Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison announces inaugural Cook County LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition 2024-04-10
--From a press release - Schaumburg, Ill. — April 9, 2024 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison recently announced the firs ever LGBTQ+ Youth Art Competition. The competition's theme is "Pride is Power!" and will set the ton for Pride celebrations ...

Gay News

For Deb Robertson, the end-of-life issue is very real 2024-04-07
- For just about everyone, life is hard enough. However, talking about ending that life—especially when one is terminally ill—is just as difficult. Ten states have authorized medical aid in dying, although Illinois is not one of ...

Gay News

KFF survey shows extent of LGBT-related discrimination 2024-04-07
- KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism—released "LGBT Adults' Experiences with Discrimination and Health Care Disparities: Findings from the KFF Survey of Racism, Discrimination, and Health." This ...

Gay News

Lightfoot may be hired to investigate Dolton mayor, trustees 2024-04-06
- A group of Dolton trustees is aiming to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot—who is also an ex-federal prosecutor—to investigate Mayor Tiffany Henyard, media outlets reported. The group wants Lightfoot ...

Gay News

NATIONAL mpox, Trans+ Day of Visibility, police items, Best Buy, Gentili's death 2024-04-05
- The CDC has concluded that mpox cases are on the rise in the United States, increasing to almost double what they were at the same time last year, according to ABC News. There is a national year-to-date estimate of 511 cases ...

Gay News

Ugandan court mostly upholds harsh anti-LGBTQ+ law 2024-04-04
- On April 3, Uganda's constitutional court refused to annul or suspend an anti-LGBTQ+ law that includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, Reuters reported. However, the judicial body voided some provisions that it said were ...

Gay News

How safe are we really? A look into Illinois' LGBTQ+ protections as hate rises nationwide 2024-04-02
- Illinois has long been known to have some of the strongest LGBTQ+ legal protections in the country. Its first anti-discrimination laws go back several decades, and the state boasts a wide variety of protections of LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Q Force initiative looks to 'save democracy' by getting out the vote 2024-04-01
- The Q Force Midwest Force Action Group initiative wants to save democracy-and they've hit the ground running to ensure President Biden wins reelection this November. The initiative of LGBTQ+ organizers and volunteers seeks to invigorate voters ...

Gay News

Chicago's transgender community kicks off Transgender Week of Visibility with daylong conference, resource fair 2024-03-30
- Transgender community leaders, allies and politicians kicked off a weeklong celebration of transgender visibility in Chicago with a one-day conference and resource fair. More than 100 community members attended the ...

Gay News

White House issues proclamation on 2024 Transgender Day of Visibility 2024-03-29
- A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation's commitment to forming a more perfect ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Political candidates, flag controversy, HRC gala, New York Times, Disney 2024-03-29
- In California, of the historic 30 LGBTQ+ legislative candidates who ran in the March 5 primary, more than half are moving on to the fall ballot, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Based on the still unofficial ...

Gay News

Thailand parliament passes landmark marriage bill 2024-03-27
- On March 27, Thailand's parliament approved a marriage-equality bill by an overwhelmingly large margin—a landmark step that moves one of Asia's most liberal countries closer to legalizing same-sex unions, media ...

Gay News

Kara Swisher talks truth, power in tech at Chicago Humanities event 2024-03-25
- Lesbian author, award-winning journalist and podcast host Kara Swisher spoke about truth and power in the tech industry through the lens of her most recent book, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story, March 21 at First ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.