The People’s Assembly and The March for Human Rights brought over one thousand Hurricane Survivors and supporters of a survivor lead movement together for 3 days of planning and action.
Youth Speak Out
Held at Jackson State University, the Youth Speak Out evening in Thursday, December 8th was coordinated by area youth who put together a program that called for survivor’s to share their stories and included performances and testimony that spanned from; gospel music, urban and classic West African dance and drumming, poetry, to statements of solidarity. One survivor story came from Brandy who talked about the attempts of those displaced to New York City to fight off hotel eviction and homelessness.
The Survivor’s General Assembly and Conference was held Friday, December 9th and took place at Anderson United Methodist Church. Survivors and support organizations from Houston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, South Carolina, California and Atlanta came together to share their stories and organizing efforts taking place in the areas where they currently reside. The day was full of workshops and information sharing, included a film that illuminated an example of the injustices that took place at Orleans Parish Prison. Approximately 450 delegates participated, including more than 150 hurricane survivors. By the end of the day the survivors put forth the People’s Declaration: Survivors Assembly Demands. These demands were read at the March for Human Rights (12/10/05) and at a rally held in Washington, DC (12/14/05) calling for FEMA to be held accountable for their lack of transparency in relief efforts. The demands are also being submitted to New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin to request and audience and significant representation by those most impacted by Hurricane Katrina on those commissions set up in New Orleans to address reconstruction and community redevelopment.
The demands will also be pursued with the mandate of the people by the work groups of the PHRF.
The established workgroups are as follows:
Arts, Culture and Story Collection, Economic Justice, Education, Environmental Health and Justice,
Finance and Fund Raising, Health Care, Legal, Media, Reconstruction, Safety Justice and Accountability
These work groups will be supported and monitored by The National Solidarity Caucus and Women’s Caucus.
The March for Justice
The March for Justice brought together approximately 1,500 participants who represented a diverse cross-section of New Orleans culture. Old school second-liners, musicians, students, blue collar workers, home owners, renters, grassroots relief workers and elders of the New Orleans community joined in chants and prayers to welcome their return to the city, demand support and justice in the rebuilding process and to share their stories of hardship and organizing since the storm.
The March ended at city hall where The People’s Declaration was announced.
The People’s Hurricane Fund will continue to do outreach among those displaced to highlight their voices and support organizing efforts that address the diverse needs that must be met to accomplish comprehensive reconstruction of communities and lives. Survivors Councils are being planned around the country for this purpose.
Honoring the work, commitment and spirit of Meg Perry
Saturday, November 10th, Common Ground volunteer, Meg Perry, 26, died in a bus accident in New Orleans. In Portland, Maine, Meg was a coordinator with the People's Free Space, a community group fighting social, ecological and political injustices. After Hurricane Katrina, Meg volunteered at Common Ground Collective (CGC), working on roof repairs, mentoring youth and coordinating a community garden.
The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition (PHRF) extends its deepest condolences to Meg’s family, friends and the Common Ground Collective. In memory of a woman that dedicated so much of herself to this cause PHRF would like to donate and participate In planting a sapling tree in Ms. Perry's honor, for the hope of a just and environmentally sound reconstruction of New Orleans.
To see Common Ground Collective’s tribute to Meg, please go to http://www.commongroundrelief.org/2005/12/meg_perry_1979_2005.html
We look forward to strengthening the organizing efforts of survivors/evacuees throughout the country and connecting the work with supported actions in the areas where we are displaced and in those areas where these grassroots efforts are most needed, for a just and comprehensive redevelopment of New Orleans and the Gulf South.
Regular updates should be posted on the website. For more information contact
People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition
info at communitylaborunited dot net