Derek Rankins, trainer at the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), gave his own history of Katrina and its aftermath. During the interview, Derek recounted his personal Katrina experience as a long process of evacuation, displacement and return, and its impact on people like him who were high school students back then. He talked about how Katrina had revealed the problem of enduring racism and how it made the conversation about race real. He talked about the history of his involvement with PISAB and how Katrina had galvanized his work of community organizing. When asked about his vision derived from the experience of Katrina, Derek talked about an “antiracist, pro-humanity type of life” which can be achieved by building a stronger base of people in New Orleans. Interview conducted by Xiayue “Patrick” Li. Permission given by both participants to post.
[Editor’s Note: This reflection was captured as part of an English class taught by Gaurav Desai to document memories of Hurricane Katrina]