A fellow New Orleanian is trying to spread the word about the latest actions being taken to keep the poor out of the city. Concerned individuals are asked to please consider joining us in protesting the planned demolition of all public housing units. Unfortunately, I'm not know if I'll be able to get out there and participate in person due to my damned health, so I'm trying to do as much as I can to support the effort. Here's the message I received. Please feel free to re-post it anywhere you can.
Hello again everyone out there who still thinks about us. As many of you know from previous posts, I am very invested in the fate of affordable housing in my city, and specifically in my neighborhood. My neighborhood is the first to go on the chopping block here, as LaFitte is the heart of the neighborhood. The 6th ward has a long cultural history in the city. Please read on and if anyone decides they want to join the protest, my home is always open. It looks like civil disobedience will be our only option. Thank you for reading.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
A major human rights crisis exists in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It is a crisis that denies the basic rights to life, equality under the law, and social equity to Black, Indigenous, migrant, and working class communities in the region. While this crisis was in existence long before Hurricane Katrina, the policies and actions of the US government and finance capital (i.e. banking, credit, insurance, and development industries) following the Hurricane have seriously exacerbated the crisis.
One of the clearest examples of this crisis is the denial of the right to housing in New Orleans, particularly in the public housing sector. Since the Hurricane, the US government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has denied the vast majority of the residents of public housing the right to return to their homes. Unlike the vast majority of the housing stock in New Orleans, the majority of the public housing units received little to no flood or wind damage from the Hurricane. Yet, as of October 2007 only ¼ of the public housing units have been reopened and reoccupied. The Bush government refuses to reopen the public housing units in New Orleans because it appears intent on destroying the public housing system, demolishing the existing structures, and turning over the properties to private real-estate developers to make profits.
Based on the discriminatory Federal Court ruling issued on Monday, September 10th, all of the major public housing units in New Orleans are now subject to immediate demolition (the latest report from Monday, November 5th is that HUD will attempt to start the demolition on Monday, November 19th. However, this is being challenged by various legal advocates and will be delayed until at least Wednesday, November 28th pending a Federal court hearing). The first site on the schedule for demolition is the Lafitte housing project. Lafitte therefore, is the line in the sand that must be drawn by all peoples in support of the human right to housing.
I believe in the fundamental human right to housing, and I will not be a witness to the denial of this right to the peoples of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I therefore pledge myself to resist the denial of this right by all civil and humanitarian means available, including civil disobedience. I pledge to stand ready to take action against this imminent threat and to put myself on the line, either directly in New Orleans or in strategic locales throughout the US, in support of the demands and leadership of the peoples of New Orleans and their organizations in the struggle for housing and human rights.
We ask that all those interested in coming to New Orleans to contact us before making the journey. We need to ensure that everyone coming is registered, properly orientated and trained in order to partake in this act of resistance in the manner determined by the local leaders and residents. Please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word "registration" in the subject line. Also, please include the following information:
Affinity Group/Organization (if applicable):
Have you ever received any training in civil disobedience?
What skills/resources are you able to bring to New Orleans?
All making this pledge must be advised of the following:
1. As of now we do not know exactly when the demolition orders will be given. We hope to have this information within at least 48 hours of the scheduled demolition to contact you and give you sufficient time to act (including travel for residents and allies coming in from out of town).
2. Given the limited timeframe and resources of the various organizations spearheading this fight back, access to the following will be limited:
Legal counsel and aid. All effort is and will be made to provide adequate legal support, but the reality is that it is limited at present.
Lodging and food. Again, given the uncertain timeline and limited resources, housing venues are presently limited, but all effort will be made to support all those making this bold pledge.
For more information, please contact the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) at 504.301.0215 or email@example.com or Survivors Village at 504.239.2907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
If you are coming to New Orleans:
Please think about forming an affinity group before you get here. Different roles in an affinity group can be:
* legal support person/people for members of your group
(for documentation of events and indymedia coverage in your own area)
if your group has some of its own logistical needs taken care of, this will help local organizers coordinate on a broader level. For example, if each affinity group has a legal support person, they can coordinate with the local legal team to make sure everyone's legal needs are taken care of.
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