Displaced New Orleans Community Demands Action, Accountability and Initiates A Peoples Hurricane Fund

by 

Dear Friends:

For those of you wishing to donate to progressive community based African American led New Orleans orgainziations I can recommend this group. Curtis Mohammed and Bob Moses have a long history of struggle in LA and MS. Curtis also has a union history and has done some excellent work building a base with community and labor in NO. Recently they have done some excellent work building a national progressive educational change coalition.

See the info on them attached to see what they are doing and how you can support them.

best
gene bruskin 
______________________________________________

Displaced New Orleans Community Demands Action, Accountability and
Initiates
A Peoples Hurricane Fund

 
Not until the fifth day of the federal governments inept and inadequate emergency response to the New Orleans disaster did George Bush even acknowledge it was unacceptable. Unacceptable doesnt begin to describe the depth of the neglect, racism and classism shown to the people of New Orleans. The governments actions and inactions were criminal. New Orleans, a city whose population is almost 70% percent black, 40% 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 Peoples Project and the Louisiana Research Institute for Community Empowerment.  We are preparing a press release and framing document that will be out as a draft later today for comments.

Here is what we are calling for: 

We are in the process of setting up a central command post in Jackson, MS, where we will have phone lines, fax, email and a web page to centralize information.  We will need volunteers to staff this office.

We have set up a Peoples Hurricane Fund that will be directed and administered by New Orleanian evacuees.  The Young Peoples Project, a 501(c)3 organization formed by graduates of the Algebra Project, has agreed to accept donations on behalf of this fund. 
Donations can be mailed to:
(to give on the internet, see the message below)

   The Peoples Hurricane Fund  
     Vanguard Public Foundation
      383 Rhode Island St., Ste 301
      San Francisco, CA 94103

  
or visit www.qecr.org.

If you have comments of how to proceed or need more information, please email them to Curtis Muhammad (
muhammadcurtis@bellsouth.net) and Becky Belcore (bbelcore@hotmail.com).

Thank you.
[Please share this appeal with others.]


This gives you a way to donate on-line to the People's Hurricane Fund, set up by Community Labor United (CLU).  A key organizer is Curtis Muhammad, former SNCC organizer. 

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." - Barbara Bush after touring the refugee camp at the Houston Astrodome. [1]

The Government Botched It So Far, Now Let the People Who Have Suffered Have a Say

Give Voice to the New Orleans Families and Communities Whose Lives Are Now Changed Forever

Help give the evacuees a voice.

Click here to give to a community-based group organizing those hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Dear Betty,

We've all watched in horror as events unfolded in New Orleans, and one lesson is clear: The people left behind to suffer were left behind because they didn't have the power that richer and whiter Americans take for granted. People in shelters were treated like animals. Government officials separated families. Thousands were simply left to die in the floodwaters.

It is time to give voice to the community--now a diaspora--hardest hit by the hurricane. TrueMajority is working with Community Labor United (CLU), a coalition of community groups that for nine years has worked in what are now the hardest-hit neighborhoods of New Orleans.

Already the leaders of CLU have set up a People's Hurricane Fund that will be directed and administered by New Orleanian evacuees. Money donated to this fund will pay to coordinate activities directed at helping the evacuees in the shelters today, reuniting and rebuilding families tomorrow, and making sure the reconstruction of New Orleans meets the people's needs down the road. They need your help right now. Please
click here to help this group speak for the people President Bush wouldn't listen to.

Americans have been generously giving to relief organizations such as the Red Cross to provide the food, clothing, and shelter that evacuees need right now. This charity is necessary and welcome. But in the coming days and months, these victims will need more than that. Government agents will make profound decisions about where victims will live, where their children will go to school, what kind of services they will receive, who gets hired in the reconstruction, and ultimately whether their neighborhoods are even rebuilt and they can ever return home. Today these people are without a voice; Community Labor United is ready to be that voice.

TrueMajority has agreed to accept donations on behalf the People's Hurricane Fund and transfer 100 percent of the proceeds to CLU. To give, just click this link:

https://secure.truemajority.org/03/clu

By working together, we can empower the hardest-hit victims of Hurricane Katrina.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 5, 2005, 3:30 p.m. CST

Press conference:
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
4:00 p.m. CST outside the Reliance Center at Kirby and McNee

New Orleans Black Community Leaders Charge Racism in Government Neglect of Hurricane Survivors
Press conference to announce plan to save lives and demand role in rebuilding effort

HOUSTON – A national alliance of black community leaders will announce the formation of a New Orleans People’s Committee to demand a decision-making role in the short-term care of hurricane survivors and long-term rebuilding of New Orleans.

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 work on a "people’s campaign" of community redevelopment. Organizing efforts will take place across hundreds of temporary shelters.

The population of New Orleans is 67 percent black and over 30 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 immoral­this 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 at a press conference on Tuesday, September 6, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. CST outside the Reliance Center at Kirby and McNee. The coalition will announce:

· The formation of the New Orleans People’s Committee composed of hurricane survivors from each of the shelters, which will:
1. Demand to oversee FEMA, the Red Cross, and other organizations collecting resources on behalf of the black community of New Orleans
2. Demand decision-making power in the long-term redevelopment of New Orleans
· Issue a national call for volunteers to assist with housing, healthcare, education, and legal matters for the duration of the displacement

Tax-exempt donations for the People’s Committee and the national coalition can be made out to: Young People’s Project, 440 N. Mills St., Suite 200, Jackson, MS 39202 or visit
www.qecr.org.

Community Labor United is a coalition of progressive organizations in New Orleans formed in 1998. Their mission is to build organizational unity and support efforts that address poverty, racism, and education. CLU organized in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane.

Curtis Muhammad is a veteran Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizer and co-founder of CLU.

For more information, please contact:

Curtis Muhammad
Community Labor United (CLU)
muhammadcurtis@bellsouth.net

Becky Belcore
Quality Education as a Civil Right (QECR)
bbelcore@hotmail.com
 
Becky Belcore
Volunteer Organizer
Louisiana Research Institute for Community Empowerment (LaRICE)
bbelcore@hotmail.com