Students representing 25 colleges across the nation hear first hand accounts of surviving Hurricane Katrina. They ask questions and take careful notes of South Mississippi's story. It may sound like a class project, but it's really the beginning of a movement San Jose' State University professor Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton hopes will become the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project.
"We want to propose 100,000 public works jobs," says Myers-Lipton. "Civic works jobs just like they did in the 1930s which built 10,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals. We think, if they could do that in the 1930s when the nation faced a crisis, why can't we do that today?"
The students are tasked with taking that New Deal concept to the people, just as they did during another historic era of social change.
"This is this generation's human rights struggle," says Myers-Lipton. "We have about 130 students participating in what we call Louisiana Winter. There was something in the 60s called Mississippi Summer, and so this is based on that model of college students from around the country coming together."
Working together, they hope to create a groundswell of bi-partisan support that will convince Congress and President Bush to invest in the Gulf Coast and its people.
"It's not giving welfare," says Myers-Lipton. "It's saying were going to give jobs for the people to rebuild their communities and to repair their lives."
If you'd like to learn more about the project, a town hall meeting is set for Thursday, January 18th. The meeting takes place from 7-9pm in the auditorium at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jeff Davis Campus. That's on Switzer Road in Gulfport.