The devastation that swept the Gulf Coast five years ago when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Florida, Louisiana , Mississippi and Alabama left 1,800 people dead, tens of thousands of people displaced, entire sections of New Orleans destroyed. It became one of the nation’s worst natural disasters..
The story grew worse each day as the monster storm hit—people standing on rooftops crying for help, the crowds at the Superdome hungry, sick, desperate and neglected, 80 percent of New Orleans under water. Families were separated and many went to Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and points north. The federal government drew heated criticism for failing to sufficiently respond to the victims’ desperate plight.
Washington area residents were gripped with the desire to answer the plaintive cries for help and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church used its downtown location to collect food, diapers, toiletries, water and other necessities from businesses, churches and individuals. The response to this American tragedy was overwhelming. Independence Air volunteered a plane and Rev. Ronald E. Braxton led Metropolitan members on a mercy mission to Baton Rouge. Meanwhile, another truckload of needed supplies were driven to Mississippi.
Much of New Orleans has been restored, but many residents have left, suffered continuing hardships and will never to return. The Ninth Ward, inhabited primarily by African-Americans, is the area still the most in need of restoration.
Five years later, filmmaker Spike Lee said, “Most people think that it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees. It was not the hurricane.”
Bill and Flavia Walton in Worship at Metropolitan AME
Metropolitan member Bill Walton has suffered with kidney disease for eight years. His wife, Steward Flavia Walton was not a compatible donor. This summer the “Waltons were part of the world’s largest kidney swap to date, sponsored by Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital. It involved a complex chain of 28 surgeries at four different hospitals. ”
The Walton’s hope to encourage more African Americans to donate organs since the majority of patients who need transplants are non-white. Say’s Flavia Walton, “ If God could give his son for me, or for us, I could certainly give a kidney to keep someone else alive.”
Shirley Sherrod will be the guest speaker at Sunday services on Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 9:00 AM. Please tell your friends and associates to join us for service to hear from Shirley Sherrod. Her husband, Rev. Charles Sherrod, will also be in attendance. Metropolitan AME Church is located at 1518 M St NW, Washington, DC.
Shirley Sherrod was an employee with the United States Department of Agriculture who made headlines in July of 2010 as the center of a political dust-up created by opponents of President Barack Obama. Raised in rural Georgia and a graduate of Albany State University and Antioch University Midwest, Sherrod has been in the business of helping African-American farmers since the late 1960s.
Between 1969 and 1985 she and her husband were directors of New Communities, Inc., a communal farm project in Lee County, Georgia, and Sherrod has since worked on behalf of black farmers in Georgia. Although Sherrod fought the U.S.D.A. for years as part of a class action lawsuit, she was hired in late 2009 to be the Georgia State Director of Rural Development.
She made the news on 19 July 2010, thanks to internet gadfly and conservative agitator Andrew Breitbart, who posted a video of Sherrod speaking at an event for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) the previous March. In the video Sherrod tells of having racist feelings toward a white farmer (later revealed to be Roger Spooner). Breitbart’s intention was to show “reverse racism” on the part of the NAACP and the Obama administration. The story was picked up by Fox News and other online media outlets, the NAACP condemned her remarks and Sherrod was asked to resign from her post. The next day a different story emerged after it was discovered that Breitbart — and the news media who trailed behind — had run only a portion of her speech. Left out was the part where Sherrod told of overcoming her racist feelings. It also turned out that the story she told occurred in 1986, before Sherrod was a federal employee. Sherrod was offered a new position in the Department of Agriculture and announced her plans to sue Breitbart. Read more. . .