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Versailles Injustice

The Versailles film was an interesting documentary that provided a different insight from a Vietnamese community in the outskirts of New Orleans. When Katrina hit New Orleans, majority of the media directed its focus towards the inner city and not much was said about Versailles. Despite not receiving much recognition from the media, they also received little recognition from the city officials. The documentary focused on fight for participatory and recognition justice for the people of Versailles.

The film opens up with a view of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The people of Versailles suffered from an immense amount of damage and were soon forced to leave their homes. After many months, the people were able to return back to their homes in Versailles so that they could rebuild their community. It seemed as if everything was going great during their recovery. Unfortunately, the people of Versailles were unaware that the mayor of New Orleans had just signed off on a program that would potentially be environmentally damaging to the community of Versailles. The landfill project was designed to clean up New Orleans but the area that held the trash was right next to Versailles. The people had not been informed of this treatment and were completely excluded from the decision making process. In fact, a group from the community had attended a meeting discussing the project and saw that their town was not even presented on the map of New Orleans. Eventually, the town was able to rally against the landfill project and hold it off so that it would not do anymore damage. Currently, the people are still fighting for the complete disband of the project.

After watching this documentary, I was easily able to identify the lack of recognition and participatory justice not being given to the people of Versailles. Although I believe that the people of Versailles did deserve to be involved in the decision-making process and that it was wrong that they were not even recognized, I just had one question that seemed to bother me after watching the film: was the lack of recognition towards the Versailles people brought on by their own doing? I am not advocating that they did not deserve justice but it seemed as if this may have been prevented. Let me explain.

During the beginning of the film, it was made apparent that the people of Versailles were introverted towards the New Orleans city. They did not show any resentment towards the inner city, but they were very much kept to themselves. My thoughts were if the people of Versailles were not so distant from the rest of New Orleans, there may have been a better chance of recognition justice. The mayor seemed to choose their area because no one really knew about the people of Versailles and it would be more convenient to transfer trash near a less known community. I just began to wonder what the situation would have entailed if the people of Versailles would have been more involved with the city itself. Overall, I thought it was a great film and it gave me a lot of insight on how smaller communities can experience recognition and participatory injustice.

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