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We are glad that so many people are reaching out to the very poor people

of New Orleans. Many people are not even a paycheck away from poverty. 



William P. Quigley, Ending Poverty As We Know It: Guaranteeing a Right to a Job at a Living Wage. Temple University Press, 2003

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A Message 

from New Orleans Shelters

Bill Quigley and Debbie Dupre Quigley 


Thanks to the many people who have reached out to us—it has been so satisfying. There have been many incredible acts of generosity and courage. We saw them everywhere. We were picked up at the hospital by two 25-year-old guys who put a little motor on a rowboat and ferried people to safety.  We got on a truck with people who had gone back to find their mentally disabled brother.

Families have come to look for family members in the shelters.

Now that we are out of New Orleans, we are so disappointed with the disproportionate attention paid to looters and to a few hundred people who were acting criminally.  Nobody in Louisiana thinks that people are looters if they broke into stores for diapers or food. People stealing TVs or shooting others made up a fraction of a percent of the people in New Orleans, but looting seems to have attracted attention in the media out of all proportion.

The distorted emphasis on criminal behavior has stigmatized the people who are now in shelters. Events this week exposed racial, economic, and geographic segregation in our society that includes inequality in planning and resources. People need to stick up for the folks in the shelters.  I guarantee there’s a shelter coming to a city near you.  There are not enough places here for all these people.

The New Orleans community is like a glass paperweight that was smashed by a fifty pound iron mallet.  Poor people from New Orleans are going to be everywhere.

People need to help them, not fear them.  Our question should not be, “Why was there looting,” but “How are your families?” and “How can we help?”

There are a million stories of inspiration, love, hope, affection and community from New Orleans. The focus should be on the 99-1/2 percent of people who were brave and patient and who managed to help others.

We are glad that so many people are reaching out to the very poor people of New Orleans. Many people are not even a paycheck away from poverty. We know schoolteachers whose entire life savings was invested in their home, which is now underwater. They have $200 in their pockets, and they’re living in a shelter along with their extended family, hoping to get food stamps.  Many people have much less.  All of them have no idea what will happen to their lives and work and homes they left behind.

The 100,000 or so people who were left behind in New Orleans are a reflection of the people who are left behind in our country and in the world. We need to turn this disaster into an opportunity for the Nation to reevaluate our priorities and invest in construction, both here and in the rest of the world.

Thank God there is no one to bomb in retaliation. Instead of wasting our resources on destruction, we should rededicate our people, resources and creativity to addressing the fundamental problems that were exposed when the superficial covering of New Orleans was ripped away, leaving us struggling for survival as people do in so many other countries.

We love you, and we appreciate the support that has come in to us in so many ways.


Bill & Debbie

Debbie Dupre Quigley is an oncology nurse.  She and her husband Bill, who is a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans, spent four nights and five days in a hospital in New Orleans before they were evacuated.  They can be reached at

posted 10 September 2005

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam?

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What Orwell Didn't Know

Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics

By Andras Szanto

Propaganda. Manipulation. Spin. Control. It has ever been thus—or has it? On the eve of the 60th anniversary of George Orwell's classic essay on propaganda (Politics and the English Language), writers have been invited to explore what Orwell didn't—or couldn't—know. Their responses, framed in pithy, focused essays, range far and wide: from the effect of television and computing, to the vast expansion of knowledge about how our brains respond to symbolic messages, to the merger of journalism and entertainment, to lessons learned during and after a half-century of totalitarianism. Together, they paint a portrait of a political culture in which propaganda and mind control are alive and well (albeit in forms and places that would have surprised Orwell). The pieces in this anthology sound alarm bells about the manipulation and misinformation in today's politics, and offer guideposts for a journalism attuned to Orwellian tendencies in the 21st century.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Home  Conversations with Kind Friends /  Katrina New Orleans Flood Table  

Related files: Leaving the Poor Behind Again   New Orleans a Ghost Town   A Message from New Orleans  Eighteen Months After Katrina  Bulldozers for the Poor Huge Tax Credits for Wealthy   

Katrina Survivors and Immigrant Workers Unite / Katrina Reports:  New Orleans 2007  public education in new orleans