See http://neworleans.indymedia.org/ for updates
**September 28, 2005: A network of social justice groups has created the Katrina Information Network, a website featuring grassroots perspectives on Gulf region people’s right to return and rebuilt, accountability and budget issues, disaster profiteering, and racial issues — along with action links on a wide range of issues of community concern and links to grassroots relief efforts.
**September 26, 2005: Peoples Hurricane Fund and National Lawyers Guild file FOIA request with FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, and Lousiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, for names and locations of individuals evacuated from Louisiana (see press release).
“PHRF and NLG plan to disseminate this information in order to ensure transparency from FEMA and other major organizations raising funds and resources in the name of hurricane relief. This information will also be used to facilitate the return of hurricane survivors, and ensure local, grassroots leadership and participation in every phase of rebuilding.”
Lists of Southern Groups
1) Southern Empowerment Project
2) May First/People Link
3) The National Organizers Association
4) Community Labor United – People’s Hurricane Fund (statement and press release)
5) PICO, faith-based community organizations
6) Southern Partners Fund
7) Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights
8 ) Louisiana Environmental Action Network
9) Federation of Southern Cooperatives (press release)
10) Farm Aid/Louisiana Interchurch Conference
11) Southern Mutual Help Association
12) Enterprise Corporation of the Delta
13) The Justice Center
14) Centers for Independent Living
15) Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization
16) NOAH – New Orleans-Houston Employment and Relocation Aid for Musicians Displaced by Hurricane Katrina
1) Southern Empowerment Project
Walter Davis, coordinator. 343 Ellis Avenue, Maryville, Tennessee 37804; 865-984-6500; email@example.com
A multiracial association of groups challenging racism and social injustice which trains community leaders to become organizers
Website links to community organizations and neighborhood groups in the coastal regions of Louisiana and Mississippi
2) May First/People Link, a progresive technology project has a list of Grassroots/Low-income/People of Color-led Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at http://katrina.mayfirst.org/
“In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in a “New Deal” for the city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be “rebuilt and revitalized” to a shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more casinos, and with chain stores and theme parks replacing the former neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.
“Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty, racism, disinvestment, deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to repair.
“Now that the money is flowing in, and the world’s eyes are focused on Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people take this opportunity to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is a special place, and we need to fight for its rebirth.”
3) The National Organizers Association has a list of grassroots relief efforts at http://noacentral.org/page.php?id=1
“Progressive community organizing groups and service providers…are fighting for both short-term and long-term justice for people of color, low-income families, LGBTQ communities, and others that face unique and disproportionate challenges now and in the years to come. While some in the news and those in positions of leadership would like us to see this as simply a ‘natural disaster,’ the groups listed here are standing with individuals who know that there are systemic failures that led to a disaster of this proportion. These institutions were fighting for better housing, transportation, education, job creating, legal services, and more before the hurricane. They are organizing now, and will be organizing in the months and years to come.”
4) The Displaced New Orleans Community Demands Action, Accountability — and Initiates a People’s Hurricane Fund
STATEMENT: Not until the fifth day of the federal government’s inept and inadequate emergency response to the New Orleans disaster did George Bush even acknowledge it was “unacceptable.” “Unacceptable” doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the neglect, racism and classism shown to the people of New Orleans. The government’s actions and inactions were criminal. New Orleans, a city whose population is almost 70 percent percent black, 40 percent illiterate, and many are poor, was left day after day to drown, to starve and to die of disease and thirst.
The people of New Orleans will not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country to become homeless in countless other cities while federal relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels, chemical plants and the wealthy white districts of New Orleans like the French Quarter and the Garden District. We will not stand idly by while this disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New Orleans.
Community Labor United (CLU), a coalition of the progressive organizations throughout New Orleans, has brought community members together for eight years to discuss socio-economic issues. We have been communicating with people from The Quality Education as a Civil Right Campaign, the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project and the Louisiana Research Institute for Community Empowerment….[Money donated to this fund will pay to coordinate activities directed at helping the evacuees in the shelters today, reuniting and rebuilding families, and making sure the reconstruction of New Orleans meets the people’s needs.]
Tax-exempt donations can be made out to: The People’s Hurricane Fund. c/o Vanguard Public Foundation, 383 Rhode Island St., Ste 301, San Francisco, CA 94103
September 6, 4:00 p.m. CST, Reliance Center, Houston, Texas
First Organized Response by Hurricane Evacuees Charge Racism in Government Delay
Press conference to announce plan to save lives and demand role in rebuilding effort
HOUSTON–In the first organized response by hurricane survivors most affected by the aftermath, black leaders of New Orleans community organizations will demand a decision-making role in the short-term care of displaced evacuees and long-term rebuilding of New Orleans. They charge the government with racism for their slow rescue efforts and lack of planning and have initiated a nationwide “people’s campaign,” led by New Orleans residents.
Community Labor United (CLU), a New Orleans coalition of labor and community activists, has put out a call to activists and organizations across the country to help evacuees in their own organized effort to have a say in how, when, and where they will rebuild their lives by creating a New Orleans-based People’s Committee.
The population of New Orleans is 67 percent black and 28 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, reflecting the current demographic of hurricane survivors displaced all over the South.
While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the White House, and Governor Blanco attempt to regain the public’s trust by evading the question of who’s to blame, a short and long-term plan for New Orleans hurricane survivors has remained in a political vault of silence.
“This is plain, ugly, real racism,” states Curtis Muhammad, CLU Organizing Director. “While some politicians and organizations might skirt around the issue of race, we in New Orleans are not afraid to call it what it is. The moral values of our government is to ‘shoot to kill’ hungry, thirsty black hurricane survivors for trying to live through the aftermath. This is not just immoral?this has turned a natural disaster into a man-made disaster, fueled by racism.”
Leaders of CLU, in alliance with nearly twenty other local organizations and several national organizations will discuss their plan ….
The coalition will announce he formation of the New Orleans People’s Committee composed of hurricane survivors from each of the shelters, which will:
1. Demand a role in reviewing and influencing how resources collected on behalf of the people of New Orleans are allocated.
2. Demand decision-making power in the long-term redevelopment of New Orleans.
The coalition will issue a national call for volunteers to assist with housing, healthcare, education, and legal matters for the duration of the displacement.
Contact Curtis Muhammad at firstname.lastname@example.org
5) PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations working to increase access to health care, improve public schools, make neighborhoods safer, build affordable housing, redevelop communities and revitalize democracy. PICO brought New Orleans certy to Washington, D.C. “to speak about ongoing failure to protect families” at the National Press Club on September 12; and brought together Louisiana churches to call for comprehensive family relief legislation.
“The federal government needs to respond to the refugee crisis facing the South by opening thousands of new shelters. Congregations are overwhelmed with the task of sheltering people. We are doing everything we can. PICO is hearing reports of people evacuated from New Orleans being left at the doors of closed public buildings, of thousands of people waiting in line for food. FEMA needs to open up thousands of shelters across the South and do more to help people find food, clothing and temporary places to live before they can return home.
“Resources need to be made available to rebuild New Orleans for all its citizens and to prevent catastrophes like this from happening elsewhere. So many stories have pointed to the failure of federal officials to do all that could have been done to prevent and then respond to this catastrophe. If we treasure everyone’s life we cannot shortchange our public health and homeland security infrastructure.”
6) Southern Partners Fund in Atlanta is a public foundation which nurtures grassroots leaders and supports organizations seeking social, economic, and environmental justice.
The SPF Justice Fund for Katrina Relief and Renewal will provide short-term relief, mid-term assistance, and long-term support for community renewal, particularly providing baseline support to grassroots community organizations located in the affected areas of Louisiana and Mississippi to regain operational capacity.
Contact Joan Garner, 404-758-1983 x 24; email@example.com
7) Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights, in Greenville, MS, a worker advocacy organization that provides organizing support, training and legal representation for low-wage, non-union workers, has established a hurricane victims relief fund.
Jaribu Hill, executive director, 662-334-1122 or 888-949-9754
8 ) Louisiana Environmental Action Network in Baton Rouge provided airdrops of food, water, and medical supplies to trapped residents in St. Bernard, Plaqumine, and Washington Parishes. In coming weeks and months, LEAN will work to address the toxic cesspool and chemical contamination that will be left behind when the water finally recedes. The group has fought the environmental destruction caused by the petrochemical industry for 20 years.
“At this time, the most needed items are tetanus shots, insulin, IV fluids, as well as financial resources to purchase and transport medical and food assistance directly to victims.”
9) Federation of Southern Cooperatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2005 Contact: Heather Gray (404) 765-0991
Federation/LAF Establishes Relief Fund For Rural Victims of Katrina
EMERGENCY FUND DEVELOPED
ATLANTA….The Federation has launched a Katrina Relief & Recovery Fund to assist farmers and rural poor people effected by hurricane Katrina. “We are witness to immense tragedies in the rural areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana,” said Ralph Paige. “We now have farmers who have lost all their crops and markets. Many have lost houses and means of livelihood,” he continued. “We are also expecting some 300 evacuees seeking housing, food and water throughout the region.”
The Federation is partnering with the Cooperative Development Foundation, FARM AID and Oxfam America and others in providing relief to effected rural communities. “The funds will be used for long term relief to help cooperatives rebuild facilities, re-build markets and help with direct emergency assistance in housing, food and water,” said Ralph Paige.
In Alabama we are partnering with the 21rst Century Youth Leadership Project in southwest Alabama where up to 300 displaced people will be temporarily housed the the 21rst Century Training Center.
Contributions for the Federation’s Katrina Relief & Recovery Fund can be sent to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, 2769 Church Street, East Point, GA 30344. We thank you in advance for you assistance. Please call the Federation’s office at 404 765 0991 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and/or would like to assist in this effort.
[Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 38th year, assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability.]
Federation of Southern Cooperatives
2769 Church Street, East Point, GA 30344
10) Farm Aid/Louisiana Interchurch Conference
Federation of Southern Cooperatives, a Farm Aid partner, helped distribute 3,500 pounds of family farm-faised pork products to hurricane victims Sept. 7 through a relief shelter near Selma, Alabama.
“Hundreds of farmers had been pummeled by the storms and that they would need both immediate emergency assistance and longer term help to access other relief programs….[Family farmers are hurting over the loss of] crops and farm animals, destruction of equipment, farm buildings and homes. …While attention is rightly focused on the cities and the destruction there, we know that even though we may not hear about it immediately, rural areas and family farmers also suffer when heavy storms strike….In the northeast section of the state, dairy farmers were in trouble. Hay crops were down and corn nearing harvest was pounded by wind and rain. In some places, whole fields–a farmer’s entire crop–were beaten into the ground and destroyed.
Farm Aid is sending assistance through the Louisiana Interchurch Conference in Baton Rouge, the only farmers advocacy organization in the state, which has 20 years experience with credit counseling and emergency assistance aimed at keeping family farmers on the land.
11) Southern Mutual Help Association in New Iberia, Louisiana
Since it was founded in 1969, Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) has helped people develop strong, healthy, prosperous rural communities in Louisiana. Our special focus is with distressed rural communities whose livelihoods are interdependent with our land and waters. We work primarily with agricultural and pervasively poor communities, women and people of color. We help build rural communities through people’s growth in their own empowerment and the just management of resources.
“Louisiana is in the midst of a catastrophe. Not only is New Orleans devastated but so are so many of the surrounding rural communities. Fishers and family farmers already under the stress of international trade agreements, have now lost homes and the very means of creating a livelihood to recover. Many rural small businesses are destroyed. The crops in many areas are gone — cane, citrus, soybeans. The fisheries are destroyed in large areas of Louisiana’s coast. This is a crisis for small farmers, farm workers and fisher families.
“Many agencies and generous souls will be seeing to the needs of all those affected. Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc. (SMHA) knows, though, from our lengthy recovery from hurricane Andrew in August of 1992, that the rural areas we serve are last in line and receive the least. SMHA has created a special Rural Recovery Fund to provide desparately needed aid to the rural poor affected by Hurricane Katrina.”
Contact Lorna Bourg, 337-367-3277; email@example.com
12) Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, Jackson, Mississippi
ECD is a private, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), that provides commercial financing, mortgage loans and technical assistance to support businesses, entrepreneurs, home buyers and community development projects. ECD’s mission is to strengthen communities, build assets and improve lives of people in economically distressed areas of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
ECD Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund
Initially, donated funds will be routed to community partners who are providing food, clothing and shelter for those in Louisiana and Mississippi who were displaced by the storm.
As these basic needs lessen, funds will support payment deferrals, provide down payment assistance, establish loss reserves, and otherwise extend a bridge to those recovering from this tragedy. In this role, ECD/HOPE will build on twelve years of experience in strengthening distressed areas to help residents rebuild their lives, homes, businesses and communities.
13) The Justice Center of New Orleans
Provides representation to indigent defendants across the Deep South. They are trying to set up temporary shop in Houston.
“Many of our clients have trial dates and post-conviction filing deadlines pending and we must be able to resume work as quickly as possible in order to protect their interests. In addition, our staff, who have dedicated themselves to serving the indigent community for many years, now find themselves in need of assistance.”
14) Centers for Independent Living
The LIFE of Central Mississippi center in Biloxi, Mississippi was completely destroyed, the New Orleans center gravely damaged. The centers in Shreveport, Baton Rouse, and Lake Charles are assisting evacuees and is in need of wheelchairs, hospital beds, adult diapers, bed pads, catheters and other supplies.
15) Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization, New Orleans
One of the oldest welfare rights organizations in the nation, provides job training and low-income apartments along with advocacy and other services. The Direct Action Welfare Group of West Virginia (304) 347-9222) is collecting donations on LWRO’s behalf to help low-income families in New Orleans.
16) NOAH – New Orleans- Houston Employment and Relocation Aid for Musicians Displaced by Hurricane Katrina
“Everyone knows that a huge part of New Orleans’ culture is its music. But how can this be preserved so that it will be ready when the city rebuilds? The project is named: SHONOF (pronounced “sho’nuff”): Safe Harbor for Our New Orleans Friends).
Primary goals are:
1. To contact New Orleans musicians, wherever they are, and let them know there is a support group in Houston ready to help them, provide housing, get gigs, etc.
2. To line up apartments, rooms, etc. for these people to live in until they can get on their feet.
3. To organize an instrument clearing house whereby the musicians can get access to needed instruments in order to perform and make a living.
4. To urge local venues–clubs, restaurants, hotels, etc.–to expand their use of live musicians.
5. To organize and hold benefit concerts featuring the New Orleans musicians, supplemented by the best of Houston musicians, to raise money to help the musicians and the project.
6. To share their current gigs with the New Orleans musicians, either by adding a player or two to their performing group or by relinquishing an entire gig.”
Contact Gigi Hill, 713-503-3518; firstname.lastname@example.org.