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Welcome to Ole Miss!

Posted By Ji-Hyun, Mar 24, 2008

On Saturday, before the sun came up, 22 of us met at the Sac airport to depart on our highly anticipated trip to Mississippi! We spent the whole day traveling and our first sight of Katrina was during the drive from New Orleans to Miss. Just from the freeway we saw plenty of damages: houses with no windows and/or no roofs and/or entire portions missing out of them.

On Sunday we spent the day working with Restoration Point, an amazing organization that rebuilds homes in Miss as well as keeping in contact with the families after they move in. Jim, one of the people that head Restoration Point brought up a different perspective that I never thought of--that a house doesn't end the problem. So many people have been displaced and suffered so many losses that even after they have a new home, the house is empty.

We just started at the Mississippi Center for Justice today and we split up into different groups. We're just getting started but the people at MCJ are amazing. Crystal, one of the kind attorneys at MCJ, took us to eat gumbo at this tiny hole in the wall joint which made me sinfully happy. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming and genuinely happy that 22 California kids came to spend their spring break in Ole Miss.

I'm so glad we decided to come to Miss. Driving around, we can see entire neighborhoods that have yet to be rebuilt. At MCJ we learned about an organization called Steps, which gets their name partly from the imagery of the empty steps that sit on lots. All that's left are 3 or 4 steps that don't lead to a home, and we see this everywhere. A lot of Gulfport is still a ghost town, interspersed with gaudy casinos. I can't imagine coming home and only seeing 1 or 2 houses left on my block. There have been so many injustices in Miss and I hope more people will pay attention and do something. I'm excited to continue working at MCJ this week and learning more about Miss. There are tons of photos of the devastation, so make sure you check out my fellow trip-goers posts!