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October 10: We Cannot Forget Them
This is the final entry to my diary and I must admit that I am hesitant to write it. I'm hesitant because I am so afraid that we will move on to another story, another tragedy, another priority. There are certainly enough to choose from: the earthquake in Asia, mudslides in Central America, fires in California. But the people who were affected by Katrina cannot move on. They cannot move on until they have a place to live, a job to earn an income, schools to send their children to, stores to buy groceries from. And this will not happen if we move on to another crisis, if we forget that as we go about our "normal" routines, hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to find new routines, a new way to be in the world, a new way to survive.
I encourage everyone to make keeping up with the news from the Gulf Coast area a part of your daily routine, even a part of your spiritual discipline. One of the best ways I've found to stay informed is to read an online newspaper from Louisiana or Mississippi. You can find a listing of newspapers for each state. If you prefer radio, you can listen to Mississippi Public Broadcasting online. Whichever medium you choose, you get an entirely different perspective of what is really happening than you get in the 60-second sound bites on CNN.
In addition, I hope we will stay connected with UUA.org and uuworld.org for information about the UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund and how your congregations can help.
Write letters to your local papers and to your legislators about the government's role in relief effort, about no-bid contracts, about hiring local workers, and about the need to build quality low-income housing in the devastated areas.
Whatever you do, I implore you on behalf of the people whose faces I saw and still see in my mind, each day: don't let a day go by that you don't think about, pray about, meditate about our brothers and sisters from the South. They will need us for a long time to come.
In faith and thanks for your readership,