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Announcement :: Human Rights
Support radical hurricane relief projects
by Chuck Munson
Email: chuck (nospam) mutualaid.org
13 Sep 2005
Volunteers are needed right now in New Orleans who can provide medical care, help with clean up, do construction, report on the situation, and help people organize to save their communities.
Support radical hurricane relief projects
from Chuck Munson, Infoshop.org
September 13, 2005
This e-mail message contains several stories on radical relief efforts
in New Orleans. Volunteers are needed right now in New Orleans who can
provide medical care, help with clean up, do construction, report on the
situation, and help people organize to save their communities. Radical
doctors and activists are needed who can provide solidarity, not
charity. Activist groups such as Mayday DC, Food Not Bombs Hartford &
Tuscon, Veterans for Peace, and many others are providing mutual aid
right now in New Orleans and neighboring cities. The people of New
Orleans and the Gulf Coast need your help today and in the months to come.
Guides to alternative relief efforts:
Grassroots/Low-income/People of Color-led Hurricane Katrina Relief
New Orleans Indymedia: http://neworleans.indymedia.org/
Houston Indymedia: http://houston.indymedia.org/
Infoshop News: http://news.infoshop.org
Mini-update from New Orleans
Bork says that the caravan from San Francisco is there and are busy
helping the hundreds of people coming by for medical help. The San
Francisco contingent will only be there through Thursday, so after that
the Mayday group will be down to four people. Bork says that they
desperately need more radical medical people who can help out and work
with the spirit of solidarity, not charity. There are lots of people who
need help in New Orleans. The situation is so bad that the military is
still giving supplies to our anarchists because they don't trust the big
relief agencies such as the Red Cross.
Update on Mayday DC relief effort in New Orleans
September 12 -- Imagine a situation where the military, FEMA, and the
Red Cross are sending people needing help over to a tent set up by
anarchists and you start to get a picture of what is happening in New
Orleans, at least on the Algiers side of the river. Volunteers with
Mayday DC set up a wellness center in front of the Masjib Bilal Mosque
on Friday and since then have treated hundreds of people for ailments
ranging from high blood pressure to dog bites. The latter is caused by
the growing number of feral packs of dogs left behind by the evacuation.
Over a thousand people are left in the Algiers neighborhood--they've
have been doing what they can to survive and rebuild. FEMA and the
military have a presence in the neighborhood, but they aren't exactly
doing much. President Bush spent the night on an amphibious assault
carrier in clear view of the people doing work out of the mosque, but
they don't report signs of any presidential photo-ops in their neighborhood.
The wellness tent, dubbed the “Mayday Mutual Aid Medical Station,” has
helped around 55-60 people a day during the weekend and around 100
today. The station has been busy mostly in the morning and early
afternoon. The station shuts down in the evening when the curfew takes
The Mayday DC relief effort at the Masjib Bilal Mosque has grown to six
people, thanks to the arrival today of the Cafe Manowaj truck from
Washington, DC and another vehicle full of supplies from Asheville,
North Carolina. Jamie "Bork" Loughner--an organizer with Mayday
DC--reports that the military came by with three truckloads filled with
I asked Bork how people could help and what kind of volunteers are
needed. She said that they need more medical people. The neighborhood
needs volunteers with construction skills to help with the clean-up and
new construction. One thing they don't need are tourists, especially
people who drop off clothes, pose for photos showing how good they are,
and then run back home. Bork stressed that they are getting too many
clothes and not enough of other important supplies. The Mayday crew also
asked that people NOT donate to the Red Cross, as that organization is
corrupt and has been impeding relief efforts. Volunteers are also needed
to rescue animals.
For more breaking news on the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf
Coast, please visit Infoshop News (http://news.infoshop.org) or New
Orleans Indymedia (http://neworleans.indymedia.org/).
Information about donating money and resources to various alternative
relief groups can be found at: http://www.infoshop.org/hurricanekatrina.html
From Project South, to Michael Guerrero, coordinator of Grassroots
"If I were in the situation like our brothers and sisters suffering with
the aftermath of Katrina, I would certainly be in some store to change
my wet, fecal-soaked clothes, getting water and food, and if a cop came
up to me to tell me to halt and throw away, I would tell him to go ahead
and shoot me as I open the bottle of water and begin to drink it!" --
Dr. Gwen Patton, Movement Activist and Project South Board Member
Our hearts and minds are with all of our members and Southerners that
have been affected by the disaster that is both nature-made and
man-made. ?Man??local and national officials?knew that this level of
devastation would result if a hurricane of this magnitude ever hit New
Orleans; even down to the number of people (100,000 low-income New
Orleanians) who would be stranded without resources to evacuate.
It was hard enough to watch the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina, but
it is even more challenging to watch the overwhelming disregard for
those who have been left behind by poverty and racial injustice. The
crisis in the watery soul of the South didn't start when the levees
broke in New Orleans. But it does brutally unmask a system unfit to
lead, organize, or make any decisions about our country's future. Needs
must be met today. Institutions must be bent to serve. The vision of
tomorrow - a place where we know this could have been avoided and no one
left to the elements for days/weeks - becomes not a future hope but an
imminent necessity, up to us to secure.
Project South offers its unending commitment to fight today and secure
tomorrow a world where human needs are met and the future is not empty
with desperation but bright with promise.
"As the South goes . . . So goes the nation." -- WEB DuBois
1) Money Makes a Difference: Individuals are suffering and many agencies
are responding to individual needs. Project South feels that our role is
to support collective action from the grassroots, and we ask you to
consider contributing to Southern Partners Fund ? Relief & Renewal Fund.
This fund and our efforts will concentrate on providing support and
resources to our movement leaders and to organized communities so that
we rebuild the South effectively and with equity.
Go to www.spfund.org (The Relief & Renewal Fund is not listed yet, but
we have confirmed that this fund will serve Southern communities
directly. The full listing will be on site in a few days.) Southern
Partners Fund is a trusted resource with ties to grassroots movements in
the rural and urban South. Their efforts will be tracked, accountable,
2) Supporting our Partners: Project South is contacting our
organizational partners in the region to support their efforts to find
and care for their members.
3) Educating & Activating our Members: Project South Members are invited
to participate in a meeting on September 13
th to discuss and plan a Member Gathering on October 7
th to connect the current disaster with the movement building plans
around the US Social Forum.
MEETING TO PLAN & GET INVOLVED = Tuesday, September 13
th - 6-8pm @ the Project South office, Atlanta
MEMBER GATHERING (Food & Family) = Friday, October 7
th - 7-9pm @ East Lake Co-Housing Center, Decatur
4) Local Action: Project South will work with local coalitions and
organizations to address the emerging issues that face our community. As
thousands of evacuees find refuge in Atlanta, we will work to connect
organizing efforts around the City Ban on Panhandling Ordinance and the
public transportation struggle to ensure that all those affected by
poverty, racism, and injustice are protected and receive adequate
resources to survive and flourish.
Please join us in our efforts to address this massive catastrophe in
strategic ways. The nation is looking to the South and sees the reality
of our people. As we witness this moment, Project South offers these
1 What are the historical root causes of poverty, of land management,
and disaster relief efforts that have led to this moment?
2 How do we remember and hold closer the humanity of folks who have been
left behind while critiquing the broader political system for its racism
3 How do we look forward and build the capacity of our communities in
the South so that we are prepared to stand with all that are affected by
systems of oppression in times of crisis?
Thank you for all that you do. Please check our website for more
information. We are committed to providing you and all our members with
movement building analysis that reminds us of our long-term struggle in
the midst of crisis.
*EMERGENCY CALL FOR PROGRESSIVE ACTION (9/12/2005)
PEOPLE, TRUCKS, RELIEF SUPPLIES NEEDED ON GULF COAST
Small Communities Still Under served; Distribution of Aid Urgently Needed
Support Community-Based Relief Efforts, Not Massive Bureaucracies*
_*EMERGENCY CALL FOR AID*_
If you are like many people, the scenes of New Orleans and the Gulf
coast are overwhelming. Though the storm may not be front page news in
your town right now, *emergency relief is needed more than ever*. Many
of you have thought about coming down. *Now is the time for you to take
action and make a direct difference in the lives of those affected by
storm damage and federal mismanagement.* Here is what you can do:
1) *Come to Covington, Louisiana to Camp Casey II*I and volunteer to
distribute aid (see below for address and directions). Those people
with pick-up trucks, vans and cargo vehicles are urgently needed.
2) *Organize within you local community to send trucks of relief
supplies*. Items most in need include bottled water, food, medicines,
toiletries/personal care products, diapers and other baby care products,
mosquito repellent, poison ivy anti-itch lotions, rubber gloves and
breathing filter masks, and anti-biotic cleaners.
3) *Donate financial assistance or raise money in a community
fundraiser* and donate it to those groups listed on
http://katrina.mayfirst.org/. If you know of individual activists
working on the coast, consider supporting them while they perform relief
4) *Support community-based relief efforts.* Do not send money or
supplies to the Red Cross. While the Red Cross has been serving people,
they are also a huge bureaucracy that is a bottleneck in getting relief
to all the affected communities.
_*RELIEF SITUATION UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 12, 2005*_
The Gulf coast has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina and a negligent
Federal relief effort. While relief supplies are flowing in, many local
communities and neighborhoods across hundreds of square miles of
southern Mississippi (MS) and Louisiana (LA) are under served or not
being served at all. While massive amounts of relief supplies have
flowed into the region, much of it sits idle in giant warehouses with
no/slow means of local distribution. Meanwhile, local residents still
need food, medicines, toiletries, mosquito repellent, soothing lotions
for poison ivy, building materials, and pet assistance. Local
organizations and individuals in conjunction with organizations like
Food Not Bombs, MayDay DC, Veterans for Peace, and other progressive
groups are trying to meet the need in these hard hit neighborhoods but
are badly understaffed. Local community organizations are jostling the
Federal government for control of their neighborhoods.
_*DIRECTIONS TO CAMP CASEY III IN COVINGTON, LA *_
From downtown Covington, travel north on US-190. Road changes name to
SR-25. After approximately 4.7 miles, turn right onto Million Dollar
Road. Several dirt roads branch off from Million Dollar Road. Keep left
and stay on the paved road. After approximately 2.2 miles, Land O' Pines
Campground is on your left. Stop in the front and someone can assist you
in locating your tent. You may be referred to the overflow camping area.
Bring a tent, sleeping bag and food for sharing at the camp. Call
The situation on the gulf coast is ever-changing. Flexibility and
adaptability are good qualities to consider if you are coming down. This
is a relief effort that will take years, but now is the time when the
most urgent aid is needed.
Vermont Guard Brings Food To Projects
People Tell of Police Abuse, Express Anger at Feds
By David Van Deusen
Jefferson Parish, LA, - On the afternoon of Thursday, September 8th, Vermont National Guard troops brought food and water, by truck, into a number of poor and working class communities in Jefferson Parish, just across the river from New Orleans. Throughout the day twelve Guardsmen distributed an estimated 900 meals to hurricane survivors.
The first destination was a housing project in Tarrytown. The apartment buildings were two story structures, built in the 1970s. These projects are populated by poor Blacks. The streets were littered with debris. Many buildings remained intact. Others showed signs of Katrina’s devastating winds. Electricity remained out. At the flood’s height, waters flowed waist deep through this neighborhood. By the time the Guard rolled through, the flood had already subsided.
Before Katrina the projects were home to hundreds. As the Guard arrived with provisions, it appeared that only thirty or so remained. These were the poorest of the poor; those who had no means to leave on their own accord. Many were children and elderly. This neighborhood received little aid prior to the Guard’s arrival, and none whatsoever for the first five days of the disaster. The fire department refused to bring supplies into the community without a National Guard presence because of fear for their safety.
As the Guard drove slowly through the streets passing out food and water, I followed, interviewing residents. A young man named Renee Rose, 16, made his way to the supplies. I asked him what he thought of the government’s response to the crisis.
“I don’t think they done alright cause the power should have been on by now,” said Rose. He continued to talk about the state of his neighborhood, “The community right here is falling apart. Ain't never been that many people who have left… we got a man who lived right here, got killed.” The reason for the killing, as well as the perpetrator is unclear.
“That was his van right there, and they left. See what they did-–the anger--they messed up the van… see how messed up it is? They just went berserk, see?” The van he points to looks as if its been bludgeoned with sledge hammers. The sides are smashed in, and the windows are broken.
I ask Renee what he thinks the future holds. “I don’t know. I have no clue. Bush needs to come down here and see himself… I don’t think he would, but he needs to.”
Kathryn Nevels, 54, sits in a chair in front of her apartment. She also contends that the government response to the storm was less than adequate. “To tell the truth we wish it could be better. We wish it could be much better.”
Despite these misgivings, Nevels remains optimistic about the community. “Everybody is fine, they’re pitching in together and helping the best way we can. We’re just hoping that once everything is over with our dept to society is paid and we can rebuild and start all over again.” She does not explain whom she feels the people owe a dept to.
I approached a group of four adults, three women and one man who all appeared to be in their late thirties-early forties. This group was standing around a car loaded with belongings. They immediately express their desire to leave for Texas, but confess they have no gas. All wished to remain unnamed.
A distraught woman, mother of three, tells me “everybody’s gone and we’ve been living here for over five years, maybe six. We’re just hanging on strong… I’m just trying to look after my children… We got no gas, we got [some] water in jugs... We’re trying to keep [our home] clean the best way we can, but it still has the whole filth and smell in it. The damage is real bad… I’m trying to get out of here. I’m trying to get to Texas. I don’t care where I go as long as I get the fuck up out of here.”
I ask how she assesses the local and federal government’s response to the crisis. Her eyes become sharp. “They [the government] are not handling it [the crisis] right. They’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. If they were to do what they were supposed to do, we would be out of here right about now.”
Addressing local officials she becomes angry and proclaims, “People came here and drew guns on us… The police… They were about to beat up my [twelve year old] son on his birthday because he told them not to search his bag… They came out from nowhere, just crept up on us. When it’s dark we can’t see nothing. We didn’t know what was going on. They draw guns on us, telling us to raise our hands up, you know –and everything. My little niece was right there, she had her baby and they still was drawing guns… We had no choice but to put our hands up or we’d get shot. They [the police] said ‘we saw you breaking into peoples cars’ and were gonna shoot somebody.”
The woman claims that police shot and killed local residents without just cause. “People that’s dear to us done got shot. People we know got killed. They [the police] got the permission to shoot them on sight.”
A strong looking man in his forties stepped forward and said, “They draw guns on all of us. Every last one of my kids, my wife, and my nephew, and everything.”
The man discusses the plight of those who were forced to loot food when government aid failed to arrive, “We got a lot of people who go get food for their [family]. They [the police] killed them, since the storm, in this neighborhood, on Manhattan [street] across the river and everything. All down here. [The police] have been shooting on the kids. They aren’t saying freeze or nothing. They shooting you in the head and that’s bad.”
Another resident, a woman in her late 30s, attributed the alleged instances of police killings to racism. “We got a lot of racist [White] cops that are taking advantage of this fact that it’s supposed to be marshal law, and they’re really taking advantage of it.”
With relative chaos still prevailing in Jefferson Parish, it is impossible to verify or discredit these serious charges. It is also difficult to tell if these alleged abuses are localized or widespread. However, in the past 72 hours, similar reports have been coming in from New Orleans. I can report that the night before, while on patrol with the Guard no more than a mile away, two local cops from the sheriff’s department pulled up to us. In the darkness they did not notice that a member of the press was present. I heard them tell the Guardsmen “no one on this street is innocent.” They went on to encourage the Guard to shoot people, and informed them that they would cover up such events. As they pulled away, they aimed their PA system at area apartments, blaring the sounds of a woman screaming. To date the Vermont National Guard has not fired a weapon.
This work is in the public domain