|6205 Hanging Moss Road, Jackson MS
8PM - 11 PM
Cultural Program Amrir Baraka, Sonya Sanchez, Dead Prez
DECEMBER 10 - MARCH ON NEW ORLEANS to DEMAND THE RIGHT TO RETURN
Starts in Congo Square, New Orleans LA
For further information call 1-888-310-PHRF(7473), or call 601-353-5566, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Contact: Cassandra Burrows 773-307-9686
BACKGROUND & PURPOSE
On August 29, 2005 Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast with the full force of a category 5 hurricane. Within hours flood waters would rush the City of New Orleans pouring out of an outdated levee system that, due to years of gross and blatant government neglect, was not prepared to withstand Katrina’s powerful winds. Quickly these waters would find and swallow up the city’s blackest and poorest communities. Indeed many reported hearing explosions before seeing the advancing waters. This has left some to conclude that the floods invaded some black communities and missed some white ones not by chance but by design.
For many there was a memory of 1927 when white business owners busted the levee in black areas in order to guide the water away from their businesses and affluent communities. This history supported the belief that Katrina flood waters found their way to the jet black ninth ward and East New Orleans by design.
Within days after Katrina struck, dead bodies, mostly black bodies, floated through the streets, as ambulances and helicopters rushed passed black and poor victims toward white and affluent communities, leaving the economically less advantaged and the black to fend for themselves.
The situation would produce countless acts of heroism and courage as men, women and children would reach out to each other and save the lives of family, friends and strangers as government agencies and the red cross either rushed to the aid of the affluent and the white or dilly dallied as the devastation and disaster mushroomed. The survivors would seek refuge in the New Orleans Super Dome and at the Civic Center as they would gather and then wait for buses which took three, four and often five and six days to come. The people waited in dangerous and unhealthy conditions without clean clothing, water, electricity, toiletries, and often without food.
The major media would turn away, ignore or fail to show the peoples act of courage and heroism and become preoccupied with what they termed acts of thugs. Although there were few if any gun shot casualties reported to any law enforcement or medical personnel, the media repeatedly ran stories on phantom shootings at police and medical aids by so called armed thugs, while broadcasting over and over again the same picture of the same few people carrying gym shoes, clothing, food, and in one case a T.V. from a few stores. To the major media blacks seeking and finding food from abandoned stores were looters, while whites doing the same were identified as having found food.
The Governor of Louisiana would call on State and local law enforcement to shoot to kill the so-called looters. The numbers of those gunned down by police and National Guards are suspected to be at least thirty (30). In Mississippi and New Orleans many were herded into jail with high bonds for petty larceny or on other exaggerated charges.
When the buses finally arrived, blacks and much of the poor were taken to so called shelters and placed in concentration camp like conditions at gun point. Whites and the more affluent were transported to white churches and other facilities and shelters.
Across the country outrage has grown and still grows as the criminal indifference and mistreatment by the U. S. Government, FEMA, the Red Cross, State Governments, Local Governments and others towards the survivors and victims of hurricane Katrina became and still becomes more and more apparent.
The outrageousness of the behavior of these Governments and agencies becomes even more obvious, as Katrina survivors were left with little money, without homes, jobs and dignity and some without their children who could not be found and nowhere have the American governments given adequate help or shown genuine concern. Survivors seeking help have been shuffled from the Red Cross, to FEMA, to insurance companies and back to the Red Cross again without and have received little relief and full recovery is nowhere in sight. The insurance companies refuse to pay for homes lost, FEMA pays too little, too slow. Large numbers of Red Cross workers are racist, often dishonest, and unreliable at best. The U.S. Government, the State and Local governments involved and big time money changers go forward on plans to rebuild New Orleans without most of its displaced black and poor populations. Meanwhile hundreds of Katrina survivors linger in jail charged with a variety of illegitimate charges, and well over 1,000 families of Katrina and the government’s brutal neglect have buried their dead and no compensation for wrongful death has been offered or seriously considered.
The burden of suffering and financial loss will once again be slung on the back of the poor and a nation of black people which already finds millions of its people in poverty, prison and jails, many being held as political prisoners. This cross is to be carried by a nation of people already owed reparation for centuries of slave trade, slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, discrimination and countless other acts of lawlessness.
Remembering the horrors of Katrina and the history of racial and class oppression is not enough. The time has come to turn outrage to action.
On December 8, 2005 through December 10, 2005 scores of survivors and their supporters,(people who believe in freedom and justice) will gather in Jackson, MS and New Orleans. We will gather for the National State of Emergency Conference in Jackson on the 8th and 9th of December. Supporters and representatives and leaders from over 50 black organizations, and labor unions and their third world and anti-racists allies will meet in support and solidarity of the survivors initiate an action plan to rescue the black population and all oppressed populations from their dependency on racist and incompetent governments. Most importantly, the Katrina Survivors will gather at the same place and time to form a General Assembly to speak for themselves and to exercise their rights to self determination.
Survivors have raised the demands are for immediate jobs, education, housing, clothing and food. Survivors have made the demand to place the control and direction of Gulf Coast reconstruction in their hands. Survivors demand the opportunity to exercise the right to return to the Gulf Coast with dignity and without poverty. Survivors have demanded a complete investigation into and prosecution of all government agencies for crimes against humanity and human rights violations.
The Objectives of the December 8-10, 2005 Assembly/Conference and the Demonstration are as follows:
1. To build a Hurricane Katrina Survivors General Assembly which will speak for the Gulf Coast Survivors and which will demand and exercise the peoples right to self determination in New Orleans and other effected gulf coast areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
2. To demand the people’s right to return to New Orleans and to the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast with dignity and without poverty.
3. To demand reparations for the governments’ criminal indifference, negligence, and malicious actions towards the Victims and Survivors, before, during and after Katrina.
4. To demand, launch and/or continue investigations, law suits and prosecutions of governments, agencies and persons responsible for the human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed before, during and after Katrina.
5. To build a national united front in support and solidarity with the self determination and reparation demands of Katrina Survivors, and through this front to design and initiate a plan of action and institutions which will allow black people to fortify themselves and serve their own needs in the face of future disasters which are either natural or by human hands.
6. To link today’s demands for reparations and self determination to the historical and future struggle of black people and other oppressed populations for self determination and reparations.
LOCATION OF EVENTS
On December 8, 2005 7pm-11pm the youth will speak out on Katrina at the Business School of Jackson State University at 1300 Lynch Street, Jackson, MS , room 134.
On December 9, 2005 from 9am-6pm in the State of Emergency Conference the survivors will tell their stories and conference participants will organize for action in support of Katrina Survivors demands and to build a front which will confront and combat the racist and abusive human rights violations of the American Government and its friends.
The General Assembly and the Conference will take place at Anderson United Methodist Church, located in Jackson, MS at 6205 Hanging Moss Road, off I-220.
On Friday evening December 9, 2005 from 8pm-11pm there will be a cultural program and rally at a location to be announced in Jackson, MS.
On Saturday, December 10, 2005 which is International Human Rights Day. The survivors and their supporters (all of us) will march on New Orleans in support of all the survivors demands and in particular in support of the right of the survivors to return to the Gulf Coast.
If you are a survivor or supporter and plan to attend, please fill out the enclosed registration form.
Hotel rooms that have been set aside for the Hurricane Survivors:
Best Western Inn (593 Beasley Road @ 956-8686)
Has 15 rooms @ $65/night, cutoff date is 12/1/05.
Reserved under “People’s Hurricane Relief Fund” and/or “Chokwe Lumumba”.
Town Place Suites (By Marriott 572 E. Beasley @ 601-206-5757)
Has 25 rooms @ $79/night, cutoff date is 12/1/05. Reserved under “People’s Hurricane Relief Fund” and/or “Chokwe Lumumba”.
Hotel rooms that have been set aside for conference participants:
Holiday Inn Express (Greymont @ 601-948-4466)
Has 50 rooms available (23 non-smoking, 15 smoking, 7 non-smoking kitchenettes, 5 single) @ $74.95/room/nite. Reserved under “People’s Fund”.
Hampton Inn & Suites (Greymont Avenue @ 601-352-1700)
Has 45 rooms (20 doubles, 25 kings w/ hideaway beds in couch). Their rates are $84.00/night. They have an Evening Manager’s reception from 5pm-7pm on Thursday (with food, drinks, and other goodies) and Deluxe Breakfasts for guests, at no extra charge. Reserved under “People’s Hurricane Relief Fund”, “Outrage-to-Action Conference” and/or “Chokwe Lumumba”.
Hampton Inn & Suites (Briarwood @ 601-956-3611)
Has 35 rooms (28 doubles, 7 kings) @ $69/night, cutoff date is 12/1/05.