Saturday, May 05, 2007
Plan to Rebuild New Orleans
Passage 4: " Convict Workforce. Hire ex-cons who no one else will hire and have them fix up Black communities in return for food, shelter, clothing, recommendation letters, and help finding another job. Employ them as security guards and construction and maintenance workers. Make it so that those who want to change can find rewarding work that can help our communities. "
The above passage is taken from a post by a very talented and bright blogger called Bronze Trinity. The name of this post is 17 action plans to help the african diaspor.
This Post written by Bronze Trinity is made up of passages/ideas on what we can do to help black folks the world over. Anyway after reading the forth item of this post it got me thinking on some thoughts I have been chewing on in my mind for a while now.
My thinking on this is, why allow black men to sit in prison for non violent crimes especially when they will eventually be released with no skills and even less job oppurtunities do to the fact that it is harder for convicted felons to get and keep employment. Thier are thousands of black men sitting in prison who are non violent offenders in jail for things such as
1)Bieng caught with or smoking weed in public,
2)Non voilent crack possession
3)Parole or probation violations sometimes all over misunderstandings.
4)Thousands of people in jail for bieng in the wrong place at the wrong time.
5) Some folks just in jail for crimes they didnt committ, in fact over 200 men have been exonerated by DNA or other evidence.
6) And lots of other frivolous reasons.
Instead of having hundreds of thousands of these young black non violent offenders sit in jail where they are at an extreme risk of contracting Hiv why not create a Carpentary and Home Repair Corps to be sent to rebuild New Orleans and other hurricane damaged areas.
This service would be free to residents of New Orleans hurt by hurricane Katrina who would qualify depening on how much money they make. Off hand I would imagine the Corp would consist of non violent offenders and disadvantaged youth from all around black america. They would be housed in central locations to be split up into groups of 200 hundred to be managed by the needed staff in specific devestated areas. Each corp would have its own staff and whatever logistics and supplies needed.
Folks in New Orleans hurt by Katrina could get assistance from these Carpentry Corps. These Corps could also be utilized to help in the in areas other than New Orleans for things such as the rebuilding of the Leeves, factories, warehouses ect.
If a project like this could be managed efficiently and responsibly this project could turn into a win win situation for all concerned parties in america. America would get its most Unique richest city rebuilt, African Americns in New Orleans would get empowering amounts of assistance in home building and other life rebuilding areas. The young men who would make up the corp would get valuble job training and expirence they would also learn how to live and work in harmony with other folks.
Also the Corp workers should be paid a salary to be held in a bank account to be saved and given to each corp member upon completion/graduation of the project. Hopefully after this project they will have been taught enough so that these thousands of young men are able to aquire the business and carpentry skills to empower them to create thier own vehicles for success.
Perhaps the program would break down into 3 days a week of work site(carpentry) training and 2 days a week of class room and highschool graduation training. Included in this program would be mentorship, job etiqette and intierview training, tutoring, ect.
This project would be designed to mentor, tutor, teach carpentry and home repair, painting, Landscaping, ect to the young men with the goal of making them self sufficient. It would also be designed to teach as many of the youth willing to work hard and smarter and demonstraing an ability to lead some administrative skills, leadership and technical skills.
The way to get this project moving is to make contact with and learn from these guys for we should not reinvent any wheels in this process thier are already highly qualified and passionate orginizations and individuals working on the issues this project hopes to adress. Thier are also people and groups who run programs like this one, for the population we will be working with who have had tremondous sucess. We should find out who they are, what they did and what made thier programs successful take some of those theories and add them to creative our own Carpenty and home repair Corps.
I guesse another way of looking at this would be to imagine a group of like minded, passionate folks who are qualified and motivated to work on this issue pointing thier intellect, time and resources in the direction of reforming young black men to love themselves while focusing on empoweing them and teaching them the skills to earn a living in society.
Here are areas we could explore for potential resources.
1) Americorps Grants
2) The clinton foundation and gates foundation
3) Summer youth workers to work in New Orleans.
4) Volunteers and interns especially with social science and community service majors. Interns from President clintons school of public service would be a great place to start.
5) Volunteer Carpenters and Contractors to teach and train the young men in carpentry.
6) Job Corp members from all over the country ( In fact this could be a hearty supply of labor for a mission rebuilding New Orleans )
7)Arch Programs which train urban youth in skills of carpentry and landscaping.
8) Resources and assistance from habitat for humanity.
9) Perhaps we could apply to the top ten construction companies in the world for grant money to rebuild New Orleans.
It will be important for us to come up with a general budget for this program as well as identify where the money for this program will come from. Im sure we can get funding from some non profit and goverment sources especially those charged with working with the young men we would be working with and those charged with or engaged in the rebuilding effort of New Orleans and the Gulf coast.
Lastly thier are also a large # of ex-offenders who are having ruff time getting employment who could benifit from this project as well and also some of the principles and strategies for these projects can be used on locally in the communities these young men are from.
Of course to bring this into bieng it would take ideas I have not even thought of yet, so I look forwad to any suggestion folks may have and will even include them in further revisions of this post.