Oxy in New Orleans
Solidarity, Not Charity

Malik Rahim, Community Organizer

We visited Malik Rahim in his Algiers home a few nights ago. Algiers, a New Orleans neighborhood that did not experience flooding from Katrina, is the neighborhood where 15 to 30 white vigilantes blockaded some streets after the Hurricane and shot at black residents. Malik was the first Algiers resident to tell the press about what happened, but few listened. A.C. Thompson brought attention to the killings years later, and to date, only one man — Roland Bourgeois — has been charged. According to one witness, Bourgeois pledged to shoot anybody with skin “darker than a brown paper bag,” and was in possession of a bloody baseball cap of a man he allegedly shot. The film “Welcome to New Orleans” includes interviews with other white residents who claim to have shot black people in the days following Katrina:

In addition to being a whistle-blower, Malik also co-founded Common Ground, a grassroots organization with the mission of providing “short term relief for victims of hurricane disasters in the gulf coast region, and long term support in rebuilding the communities affected in the New Orleans area.” He shared stories of his struggles in building and maintaining Common Ground, and his vision for restoring all neighborhoods in the Crescent City. Malik’s resolve in the face of an overwhelming disaster bears testament to a long tradition of strong black activism in New Orleans prior to Katrina, a tradition that continues today.

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