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Unnatural Disaster: A critical resource guide for addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the classroom by New York Collective of Radical Educators at NYCoRE

Http:// AnUnnaturalDisaster2-5 edit.pdf — PDF document, 4053Kb

A 13 page resource guide with lessons on: a. Government Response b. Inequality c. The Two Gulf Wars d. Media Literacy and Racism e. Global/ Local Connections f. Environmental Racism An Unnatural Disaster: A Critical Resource Guide for Educators When the American public is told that the residents of New Orleans and the gulf region are finally accounted for and the media re-focuses on the next event, the disaster will continue for the hundreds of thousands who have lost their homes, families and the lives they once knew. Young people have seen the images, heard the rhetoric, and felt the same sympathetic sense of helplessness that educators have experienced in the days leading up to this school year. How will teachers support their students to reflect on the enormity of this crisis in their classrooms? Will they ask students to draw pictures? Donate money? Will they make room for in-depth discussions? Along with the world, teachers and students have witnessed how political mismanagement, right-wing policy, and centuries of oppression have set the stage for the on-going horror that is the US Gulf Coast crisis. We implore educators to create space in their classrooms for critical inquiry into the questions this disaster has raised for those watching throughout the world. The attached resources are intended for educators moved to guide their students through a deep exploration of the historical, political and economic roots of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and aftermath. Among other things, this crisis has revealed: • the legacy of African slavery • the criminalization of poor people of color • media bias • problems with the privatization of services • the capitalist interests that govern public policy • militarism • global relationships and the many costs of war • consumerism and related environmental degradation • the racism and classism inherent in our current political system and more… Teachers and students must feel empowered to take action and demand social change, rather than rely solely on contributing to a temporary relief of conscience. Moving from a service/ charity framework to one of social justice can make room for even the youngest of students to make sense of the basic issues of fairness inherent in this catastrophe. As education catches up with modernity, classrooms can use this event to strengthen the next generation’s media literacy as students struggle to make sense of the ceaseless bombardment of mixed messages and half-truths produced to communicate the situation in the Gulf region. Also included is a list of organizations in need of contributions to help hurricane victims recover from this disaster. One of the many lessons learned from recent events is that communities need to be prepared to take care of themselves rather than rely on the government’s assistance in the event of a catastrophe. The grassroots organizations listed offer charitable giving alternatives to the massive NGOs utilizing most of the contributions flooding their accounts for administrative costs. The goal of this resource is to encourage teachers as they boldly raise the bar of intellectual questioning in their classrooms. It serves to make available information that will responsibly provide broad and informed perspectives for students to ponder. Teachers must tackle tough issues with students to uncover truths about the nature of power in our society. This is an opportunity for the education community to honor those that are suffering by refusing to ignore them.

Anti-Oppression/Critical Consciousness: Race/Racism
Social Justice: Environment
Social Justice: Katrina
Social Justice: Media Literacy

middle, high
lesson plan, bibliography
Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, Racism

submitted by bree