Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why this project?

Hi. I'm Quintus Jett. I started what is now the Gentilly Project in aftermath of the flooding in New Orleans in September 2005. Back then, I was guided by three things.

(1) There would be a lot of people who would focus on who how the catastrophe happened. I knew attention to that would be necessary and important, but I wanted to contribute in a different way. So what do we do now?

(2) I had expertise to offer. All sorts of organizational issues would occur in response to this catastrophe in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and I couldn't escape where my background was relevant. I have a Ph.D from Stanford University in Management and Organizations. I had discovered a passion two years earlier for distributed grassroots organizing as a research topic. And I am an African-American, which I feel gave me a particular sensitivity and motivation to act in the Gulf region. In many respects, the decision to start a project that was different (but necessary) wasn't mine to make.

(3) Emerging organizational theories should be immediately put into practice, so that we can accelerate their development. Bureaucratic thinking and organizations aren't sufficient for the catastrophic problems and risks emerging in the world today. With the variety of skilled expertise distributed nationally and around the world today, we can do better to alleviate the public danger and suffering in our own backyards.

Over a year later, I've seen ways that diverse people can make a difference together. Next week is going to be a very important time for those who can get to New Orleans sometime between December 7 and 21. More details to come...


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