[reprinted with permission from the Library Juice blog]
The Action Council of the Social Responsibilities Task Force made the decision that we could not leave New Orleans without issuing a statement bearing witness to what we have seen, heard and experienced while here during ALA’s annual meeting.
We have witnessed that the spirit, hospitality and creativity of New Orleans is alive and well. So too is the generosity of all those who have traveled from all points of the globe to lend a hand in cleaning debris, in restocking shelves, rebuilding homes and in bringing rays of hope to a community of people, many of whom feel largely abandoned and forgotten.
We have also witnessed that New Orleans and surrounding regions remain terribly broken and languishing nearly one year after hurricanes and political negligence inflicted horrible injuries from which the area continues to suffer.
We urge all our fellow ALA members and friends to return to our homes and libraries ready to share what we have witnessed and to pressure the federal government to mobilize the financial, organizational and human resources necessary to make this region and its people whole again. SRRT also wishes to note that the greatness of the United States lies, not in its military power, mammoth bank accounts, mighty corporations and culture of consumption, but rather in the simple humanity, generous hearts and helping hands of its ordinary people. These are the forces that can heal this region, and they must be given the resources and opportunity to do so.