KATRINA EMERGENCY SUMMIT
Strategy Meeting to Launch a GULF COAST RENEWAL CAMPAIGN
When: February 7th, 2006 from 9:00 am to Noon
Where: Room 2237 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC (on Independence Ave, south of the Capitol; nearest Metro Stop: Capitol South).
What: Founding meeting, Steering Committee formation, and press conference
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”– Coretta Scott King
January 31, 2006
First and foremost, we extend our condolences to the King family. Continuing in the spirit of Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr., those who struggle for justice and human dignity in 2006, face a new challenge – laid bare not by a vicious storm, but by an indifferent federal government. Administration policy in the aftermath of Katrina has evinced a horrific callousness toward black suffering. While opening the floodgates of opportunity to out-of region profiteers, current policy shuts out the poor, primarily African-American, Katrina survivors from returning home and from participating in the future of their own communities.
Five months after Katrina struck, the people of the Gulf Coast who were left behind once, are still being left behind to drown in the circumstances of their involuntary displacement. The right to return is a hollow promise by officials as survivors are still being denied access to viable short and long-term housing, jobs with living wages, public schools, healthcare, and government contracts. Access is further denied to the displaced by virtue of their inability to participate in critical decision-making as to allocation of federal resources and plans for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. On February 13, 2006 and March 1, 2006, FEMA plans to evict tens of thousands of victims from hotels without any provision for alternative housing. As despair settles in, rates of suicide and death from “Katrina Stress” escalate among the victims.
Sadly, progressive members of Congress, while sympathetic, have been unable to move comprehensive legislative solutions to this crisis. Forming a Katrina Working Group, we have been meeting regularly with Congressional staffers and grassroots activists, to overcome this legislative stalemate and build a broad-based Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign to restore all survivors. It is clear that the trigger for change is a ministry of presence. We need unified advocacy, we need YOU! It is imperative that African-American leaders from around the country “show up” on Capitol Hill – to demand accountability and justice for Katrina survivors. Your presence will make visible the imperative that an effective and just response to their plight remains at the top of the Congressional agenda.
I implore you to come stand with us before Congress, before the American people – as a united front of black leadership. We will gather – not to march or to yell, but to devise strategy with progressive lawmakers. As a young voice of conscience, the leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, I am appealing to all African-American leaders – to my elders who inspired me, to my brothers and sisters whose energy feeds my resolve, to please join me on February 7, to have all our voices rise up on the Hill in a call for unified and unflagging advocacy for a comprehensive plan for Gulf Coast renewal.
We are calling for:
- A right of return, not a plan that gentrifies and white-washes
- A sane rebuild that invests in those displaced; not a boon for developers
- Temporary and long-term housing assistance
- Protection for voting rights for the displaced
- Community control over CDBG’s
- Mortgage forgiveness
- Funding for quality public education
- Victim Restoration Fund
- Environmental Cleanup
- Rebuilding of Medical Facilities
- Small Businesses Assistance
- Tax Credits and Bankruptcy Exemptions for Victims
These programs will enable victims to safely return to their cities, to hold jobs, to restore the local tax base and the local economy.
The magazine, Black Commentator, has laid down the gauntlet:
“Although there are literally thousands of large and small Katrina-related projects operating throughout the nation, many of the New Orleans organizers are handicapped by the fact of their own displacement. A great moral and political challenge presents itself to Black and progressive America: Will they rise to the occasion in the face of a real, imminent, well-defined crisisÅ February 7th will be a test of Black political resolve and cohesion.”
I look forward to meeting with you on February 7 to fulfill this imperative for our people! Below is the current list of invitees for this historic and critical Katrina Emergency Summit. If your name is misspelled, or you have received this invitation, but your name is not on the list, please contact Ms. Tonia Rice at 202 359-6718 or email at Tonia[at]hiphopcaucus.org to be added to the list. If you need more information, are giving regrets or are a gulf coast survivor and need travel assistance please contact Ms. Diane Shamis at 845-661-3754 or email at Diane[at]hiphopcaucus.org.
For future generations,
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.
President and CEO
Hip Hop Caucus
“Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
6856 Eastern Avenue, NW, Suite 308 ** Washington, DC 20012
(202) 545-0113 – Office ** info[at]hiphopcaucus.org ** www.hiphopcaucus.org
List of Invitees for Katrina Emergency Summit (Not in any particular order)
GULF COAST ACTIVISTS
Women of the Storm
National Association of Katrina Evacuees (NAKE)
Urban Heart, People’s Hurricane Relief & Oversight Coalition
Community Labor United, People’s Hurricane Relief & Oversight Coaltion
Common Cause Relief Collective
African-American Leadership Project
The Advancement Project (MS), Grassroots Legal Network
Critical Resistance, XOCHITL BIVERA
Families & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
CYNTHIA WILLARD LEWIS
Councilwoman, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans
People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition, Women’s Caucus
MTUMISHI ST. JULIEN
President, New Orleans Finance Authority
Publisher/Editor, New Orleans Tribune
New Orleans Agenda
ACLU of Lousiana
Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition
Journalist, Left Turn Magazine
S.O.S. (Saving Our Selves)
S.O.S. (Saving Our Selves)
Chief, United Houma Nation of Louisiana
Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance
Southern Echo, People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition
DR. KIMBERLEY RICHARDS
People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond
People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond
Louisiana Environmental Justice Network
Members of Congress, Leaders of Organizations and Activist
RON DANIELS (Co-Facilitator for Summit)
Institute for the Black World 21st Century
1st District, N
WILLIAM L CLAY JR.
1st District, Mo.
JOHN CONYERS JR.
14th District, Mich.
2nd District, Pa.
7th District, Ind.
EMANUEL CLEAVER II
5th District, Mo.
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS
7th District, Md.
HAROLD FORD JR.
9th District, Tenn.
Poet and Lecturer
BISHOP RICHARD ALLEN CHAPPELLE SR.
President, General Board
JAMES E. CLYBURN
6th District, S.C.
7th District, Ala.
JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN
SANFORD D. BISHOP JR.
2nd District, Ga.
Chairman & CEO
American Express Corp.
7th District, Ill.
3rd District, Fla.
SEAN (DIDDY) COMBS
Music Entrepreneur and Clothing Designer
MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN
National Representative of the Hen. Elijah Muhammad Nation of Islam
Young & Rubicam, Inc.
EARL G. GRAVES
Black Enterprise Magazine
WILLIE W. HERENTON
JESSE L. JACKSON JR.
2nd District, Ill.
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
30th District, Texas
WILLIAM H. GRAY III
Minister and Education
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON
District of Columbia
18th District, Texas
Attorney and Founder
MTBC TV Network