In New Orleans, communities already suffering from racism and poverty before Hurricane Katrina suffered the most destruction during the disaster; and post disaster, have experienced inequitable and unjust recovery supports.

The overall lack of attention to the post-disaster mental health needs of vulnerable youth, their families, and their communities has created a crisis throughout the city, marked by a significant rise in violence.


In New Orleans, communities already suffering from racism and poverty before Hurricane Katrina suffered the most destruction during the disaster; and post disaster, have experienced inequitable and unjust recovery supports.

The overall lack of attention to the post-disaster mental health needs of vulnerable youth, their families, and their communities has created a crisis throughout the city, marked by a significant rise in violence.

ELEMENTS OF A RESILIENT COMMUNITY


There are many definitions of community resilience. IWES holds that a definition of community resilience should describe the way that a community responds to adversity and adapts through the three processes of recovery, sustainability and growth. True resilience can only be claimed when all segments of a community benefit from the adaptations, adjustments, and transformations that the community undergoes in response to change. A truly resilient community is: inclusive; community-informed, such that the lived experiences of community members are valued; responsive to the needs of community members; growth-oriented and equitable.

INCLUSIVE


A truly resilient community emphasizes the importance of meeting the needs of people of all races, ethnicities, ages and income levels. In order to do so, decision makers should acknowledge the diverse culture, history and lived experiences of community members and provide necessary supports for each group, with particular attention to the needs of those who are most vulnerable. The institutions that serve specific populations should be seen as assets that can help the community as a whole to be more resilient when responding to traumatic events or healing from historical traumas.

 
 

PROGRAMS


 
 
Register for Community Uprising Conference

On August 20 and 21, 2015, IWES organized the Community Uprising conference to centralize the ongoing struggles and resiliency of communities of color in post-Katrina New Orleans. This conference coincided with the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and brought together international, national and local thought leaders to discuss recovery, community resilience and place.
As we reviewed the impact of the conference we were left with six overarching themes that we are committed to exploring in our future work. We put these questions to you here for you to contemplate them, as well, and reflect upon how we may continue to rise together, as a community!

  1. How do we demand a people-centered 'right to return' for displaced communities of color versus the market-based and 'moving is good for you' attitudes that were promoted post-Katrina?
  2. For communities of color that have faced centuries of race-based 'forced serial displacement,' how do we begin the process of regaining cohesion and healing, and assuming full citizenship?
  3. Is the reclaiming of space that is seen in Jamaican dancehall and New Orleans bounce music and dance a form of resistance and justice-seeking?
  4. How do we support leaders who are always on the ground in community so as to avoid their burn-out?
  5. How can adults support youth so that they can focus on their developmental tasks, which we define as: learning; assuming autonomy; engaging in positive behaviors while avoiding risk; and eventually assuming leadership and authority in their lives.
  6. How do old cultural traditions merge and emerge with new arrivals?

RESEARCH


The rate of New Orleans youth showing symptoms of PTSD is nearly 4 times higher than the national average.

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