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11 years ago
The last day of canvassing saw me and my partner Sally in the Third Ward. The first house we knocked on was occupied by a 50-something African American man who was too busy to talk as he was cooking dinner. He thanked us for our presence in the community and invited us to come back at a better time. We knocked on a few other doors where the inhabitants were also busy: one was on the phone and we woke up an elderly woman from her afternoon nap. As we turned left on the next street, we saw a 14-year dreadlocked African American male with a basketball in his hand. We took the opportunity to talk ...
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11 years ago
Day three of canvassing was the most depressing and also most uplifting at the same time. Dropped off in one of the worst hit areas of the Lower Ninth Ward, the first house me and my partner India visited was a renovated house in the midst of mostly demolished houses. We were greeted by a 40-something African American man who lives in Houston but was in New Orleans helping to renovate the house for his elderly mother who refuses to leave New Orleans. He talked openly about his frustration with the lack of support for Katrina victims by the corrupt government of Louisiana. The lack of convenien...
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11 years ago
Day two of canvassing wasn't as intriguing and eye-opening as the first day. The neighborhood was an equal mix of African Americans and Caucasians (the first I've seen in either the Upper or Lower Ninth Ward) and a plethora of art studios that reminded the other volunteers of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Most of the residents I met were not very interested in the affairs of the community but rather their own individual ends. I felt it wasn't really my place to judge how people view their community and wanted to know why they felt the way they did. The neighborhood was more clean and lively than ...
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11 years ago
Today was a particularly upsetting and uplifting day all in one. Since canvassing door-to-door was expected to start at 2pm and had yet to receive official notice as to whether I was allowed to participate in the canvass, I was anticipating an afternoon nap back in my hotel room. Then a few of the students ask me if I was participating in the canvass and upon hearing my answer, they convinced me to join them, a wish I dutifully obliged. So at 4pm, I was dropped off in the Upper Ninth Ward with three high school students and a chaperon. The purpose of the canvass was to inform residents abou...
11 years ago
My first few days in New Orleans have been eventful to say the least. I've already warmed to the Big Easy, with its endless seafood restaurants and friendly people, who never cease to say hello at every opportunity. On our first day, Erin and I drove our rental car to Camp Hope, where the high school students we will be working were staying. A tiny looking camp from the outside, I was amazed the vastness of the camp on the inside with its dorm rooms, bathrooms and surrounding basketball courts. We spent a few hours meeting the students, some of whom were holed up in the laundry room. After din...
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Barack Obama's resounding keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention was his introduction to the American public and political scene. His message of togetherness, political accountability and individual responsibility made him an overnight sensation and a serious candidate for more prestigious office at a time when he was just a state senator from Illinois. The national convention was the ideal stage for a young (politically speaking) ambitious politician bent on perfecting the union. Th...
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As I sat watching the premiere of Hard Times at Douglass High, a few thoughts came to mind during and after the documentary. For starters, the entire documentary parallels the 1989 docudrama, Lean on Me, which starred Morgan Freeman as Joe Clarke, principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. The movie revolves around Clarke's efforts to save Eastside High from state takeover if students failed to pass the basic minimum skills test. There are eer...
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Of the three branches of the U. S. government, the most interesting and reclusive is the judicial branch: the Supreme Court. The road one takes to warm a seat on the Supreme Court is one of the great mysteries of American government. Under the federal system, the Supreme Court is the last court of appeals. A decision by the Supreme Court is the final word on that matter, though Congress has occasionally passed laws in response to a Supreme Court decision. There are no constitutional or statutory qualifications for serving on the Supreme Court. Article III, Section I, of our constitution states...
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On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Morse v. Frederick that school administrators can take necessary action against students whose actions are deemed inappropriate on school grounds. In his opinion for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts stated “we hold that schools may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use. We conclude that the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending the student responsible for it.” The issue at h...
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