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August 25th marks the 1-year anniversary of Katrina reaching hurricane strength. In the days that followed the storm would strengthen rapidly over an unnaturally warm Gulf of Mexico, ultimately striking the coast and leaving thousands dead and homeless, victims of an uncaring
government, centuries of racism, and an ever more chaotic global climate.
A strong scientific consensus agrees that the 2005 hurricane season was fueled by global warming -- and the crimes of the oil industry in the Gulf go beyond global warming. Ride Critical Mass Against Climate Change - demand Climate Justice - for Hurricane Katrina's survivors! Portland will be joining 26 other cities - see the complete list.
The goal of this ride is to take to the streets with a reminder that the racist tragedy in the Gulf continues, a demand that it never be repeated, and to raise awareness about the role of the oil industry and global warming in environmental injustice. We'll also be fundraising at rides around the continent for advocacy and relief groups in New Orleans.
related links: Beehive Collective creates new artwork for August 25th Katrina Anniversary Critical Mass | Post-ride movie showing | Rising Tide North America | portland indymedia katrina aftermath page | katrina.indymedia.us
Common Ground Collective co-founder Scott Crow has recently come under investigation by the FBI as well as the ATF. At around 8:00 am on Wednesday, April 5th, two FBI agents, one of whom identified himself as Evan Ray, came knocking on his door in Austin, TX, asking many questions including whether Scott was stockpiling firearms. Robert King Wilkerson, former political prisoner, Black Panther and member of the Angola 3 (www.angola3.org) who is a guest at Scott's house, answered the door and informed the two agents that Scott was out of town and refused to answer any of the agent's questions.
Over the years Scott has been a dedicated activist for social justice, being involved with a number of local and national groups and campaigns around issues of political prisoners, racism, prisons, and the environment. Recently he has received national attention for work he did co-founding the human rights organization Common Ground Collective in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
The FBI's harassment of those working for change in our world is meant to intimidate and isolate. It is important that we step up and stand in solidarity with our friends and comrades when the state singles them out for harassment. It is also important that we remain uncooperative with all law enforcement investigations of our political activities.
It is 7 months post Katrina. Vast parts of N.O. still look like a war zone. While the U.S. spends billions destroying Iraq, our own people are still without homes, electricity, basic services. Out of the media spotlight, Katrina survivors are still struggling every day to get food, water, shelter.
WE MUST NOT FORGET.
Two days in New Orleans and my life is changed forever. There are no words to describe the devastation that remains seven months after Katrine.For much of the country, NOLA is old news. For people here it remains a monumental battle both against the destruction and aftermath, and also against the system that is racist, classist, corrupt and greedy
There is enormous need for volunteers.On-going home rehab will take years. At the peak of Spring Break there were 3000 people here, Today it's about 300. People Power is the greatest need, but almost every thing imaginable is needed from baby diapers to tools. Stores are boarded up and toxic so there's no running to to corner market for milk & bread.
Visit CommonGroundRelief.com. Common Ground is fantastic! Up out of the flood waters, holding the community together. Amazing! We may all need to know how to do this soon.
WE MUST NOT FORGET!
After seeing the O2collective presentation of the work they did in New Orleans, RogueIMC vounteer (Ashland) decided to see what he could do to help.
Rather than join a house gutting crew, I land a sweet gig setting up a new office for the Common Ground co-founder, former Black Panther Malik Rahim. So back to the first place I go to retrieve my computers and over the river to Algiers. My work is rewarding and appreciated, and the stories of the sixties and of what happened here just six months ago are riveting.
Saturday I take a tour of the Lower Ninth ward. Here a massive barge blasted through a levee holding back a canal that bisects the city connecting Lake Pontchartrain to the north all the way to the Mississippi River. I expect to see only traces of the devastation that occurred here six month ago, but other than streets being cleared of debris, no significant clean up has occurred. The scene of destruction in the Lower Ninth is apocalyptic, macabre. Overturned cars litter abandon lots where houses once stood, crushed houses contain their owner's precious belongings which have been untouched since the water was finally pumped back over the levee five months ago.
The devastation in the Lower Ninth is complete. It's ground zero of atomic proportions. But perhaps more disheartening is the political shenanigans at work keeping these people from their homes. While the former residents here certainly are poor, 80% own these homes. It will be interesting to visit the Lower Ninth ward five years from now and see if it's filled with luxury condos and white faces. To borrow from Buffalo Springfield: Looks like there's a 'land grab' happening here, and what we should do ain't exactly clear.2/23/06, 2/25/06, 2/27/06.
NO MORE HOMELESS KATRINA SURVIVORS!
On Monday, February 13th, the New Orleans homeless population will skyrocket, and the survivors of Katrina will be victimized again. FEMA's short-term hotel program expires for most of the 26,000 displaced hurricane survivors and most of these evacuees have not been provided with long-term, or even transitional housing solutions. The National Guard is even on call to evict these survivors at gun point. We need anyone with the means to come down here to show up in solidarity for a day of decentralized direct action and mass demonstrations. For those unable to make it, an immediate nation-wide phone call and email campaign is needed to help keep families off the street. Don't let Katrina survivors be further victimized by the poverty-promoting plans of those with the power to correct the issues!
Sunday, February 12, 5:30pm at Talking Drum Books/Reflections Coffeehouse: 446 NE Killingsworth St. at MLK, next to Blockbuster Video.
Join us for an evening with Malik Rahim (founder of Common Ground Relief in New Orleans, former Black Panther, long-time community organizer) and Kerul Dyer (organizer with Common Ground, Oxygen Collective)
Food and drink will be available for purchase. Please support our kind host! [ read more ]
Gentrification in New Orleans
A friend sent this to me and said a bureaucrat on the phone yesterday advised her to "worry about more important things" (than losing privacy rights as a US citizen) so here comes one more "unimportant" thing: losing your housing to a storm and then your home to the developers. Please help. This is one more heartbreaking episode in the on-going genocide wreaked by the privileged white. It isn't that we didn't know it was coming.... [ read more ]
Katrina was not a natural disaster; it was and still is a social disaster. Katrina and its aftermath is the market at work for you. In the same period another disaster is taking place, the destruction of workers' living standards, retirement benefits and health care. United Airlines, Delphi, GM, the last vestiges of the gains made during the 1930's are being destroyed as the US capitalist class seeks its goal of "Full Spectrum Dominance", the right of capital to go anywhere and do what it likes, unhindered by any form of regulation and Unions. The vicious attacks on workers at GM and Delphi are not new by any means, but they are an indication of the increased confidence of the employers and their politicians, going after this section of the working class with such venom. Why shouldn't they? The Union leaders will not resist and the two political parties will assist them. | read more >>
Common Ground collective reports: No account of what is occurring here can be given without a brief review of the stunning reality on the ground. The scale and scope of the destruction is really not possible to grasp if you have not driven the streets here. There are over a hundred thousand cars that will never drive again that have yet to be moved-they are in all manner of disarray- on curbs, upside down, in front lawns and perhaps most eerily- parked right where they were left when their drivers suddenly fled more than 3 months ago. There are currently 1.3 million households from the Gulf Coast still residing elsewhere. Bodies are still found every day. Vast areas sit festering, powerlines strewn across streets, trees sliced right through houses, two story homes crushed to the height of their front door. Tens of thousands of homes are filled with rotting furniture, warped floors and swollen drywall. | read more >>
Most animals in New Orleans died because Governor of LA Kathleen Blanco, FEMA and Mayor of New Orleans Nagin refused to let people affected by hurricane katrina to stay with their pets or to return to New Orleans to rescue their loved family pet members. At least 40,000 companion animals were murdered because of the government left them to starve to death or suffer injuries. Some pets who survived have been lost in the system because the HSUS have been so incompetent.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you are sick of your recorded message on 1-800-humane-1 and even sicker of your "canned" statement letter. Read this on Craigslist about the HSUS. Around 10,000 companion animals survived despite the cruelty that the state of Louisiana and Kathleen Blanco inflicted upon them. Please let katrina survivors with missing pets know that they can look for them on Petfinder and Petharbor.
The New Waveland Cafe in Waveland MS, initiated by a group of Rainbows, was the first recognized relief kitchen in Hancock county after Hurricane Katrina. The Kitchen has become a community center for locals and volunteers in Waveland and the surrounding areas. People are drawn to this kitchen because the food is healthy, much of it is organic, and it is always cooked with style. The kitchen is run completely by volunteers who focus on empowering this community to continue helping one another even after the kitchen is gone. Anyone who expresses interest is welcome to facilitate a meal. Now we have 9 and 10 year-olds chopping vegetables for dinner, and spooning out soup in the serving line. Most nights during the week different local bands come to play on the stage at dinner time. Often, when dinner is finished, tables are pushed back and a spontaneous community dance party ensues. Afterwards, locals and volunteers work together to clean the dining room.
The New Waveland Cafe is closing down on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is re-opening at a new location in St. Bernard's Parrish, just outside of New Orleans. The folks who are continuing on with this mission are in need of a larger volunteer force and many resources in order to carry out this project. Many of the people moving to St. Bernard's Parrish have been working for 1 to 2 months, seven days a week, with very few breaks. This move is going to take a lot of work, and some brand-spanking new creative vibrance will be enthusiastically welcome.
Please keep in mind that no amount of carrying signs, marching, meditation, prayer, signing petitions, or voting will ever carry as much power as helping one person gut out her ruined house, or feeding a single mother at the end of another stressful day of red-taping it to a Fema trailor. This is a chance to extract yourself from our traditionally divided and materialistic American culture, shake off the stagnant mundane, and participate in true community building during a time of suffering and hardship.
The Oxygen Collective, an Ashland, OR-based non-profit organization, and the newly formed Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network today announced plans to travel to New Orleans in early December. Members of both groups intend to support the ongoing grassroots hurricane relief efforts coordinated by Common Ground. Common Ground is a community-run organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support to the New Orleans communities that have been historically neglected and under served.
Local resident and educator Peter O'Connell traveled to the region two months ago to work with Common Ground. He is planning to return again with the Oxygen Collective and Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network. "I will never forget the images of desperate people suffering the initial tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. This tragedy has been compounded by the failures of FEMA and the federal, state and local governments to adequately address the needs of the affected communities. Into this void, Common Ground has stepped in to do the work that needs to be done," said O'Connell.
Last night, Thurs. November 10, 2005, three medical workers documenting police harassment outside the Common Ground Free Clinic became the targets of that harassment. This incident is the culmination of increased daily harassment this week, and are just a few of the examples of abuse that volunteer relief workers have faced over the past two months and that New Orleans residents, especially African Americans, are facing everyday.
Greg Griffith, a volunteer relief worker, was arrested by the New Orleans Police and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) near the Common Ground Free Clinic in Algiers. Greg was thrown against the car, charged with crossing a police line, resisting arrest, and carrying a concealed weapon- a small pocket knife. While handcuffed in the back of the police car, he was told that he would be "shot, and his body thrown in the river". He was bailed out last night fearing for his safety and will go to court at OPP this morning. Emily Westerholm, the Unit Coordinator was violently thrown to the ground and Scott Weinstein a resident RN was verbally abused.
The Oxygen Collective is organizing a trip in our biodiesel bus for the first three weeks of December to bring supplies and volunteers to offer direct aid and relief work for people in the New Orleans area. We will be joining with an inspiring grassroots effort spearheaded by the Common Ground Collective in the Algiers Neighborhood.
The folks at Common Ground are engaged in many amazingly inspirational projects, but they are stretched thin and are desperately in need of people on the ground to help them. The Common Ground Collective operates a health clinic that serves thousands, an fm radio station bringing news and information to the Greater New Orleans Area and two supply distribution centers, including the only relief center located in the heavily damaged 9th Ward District. They also serve as the central hub of the grassroots, anti racist community organizing effort occurring in Southern Louisiana. They play a crucial advocacy role for the empowerment of poorer residents facing a deeply entrenched racist system that is in many cases marginalizing and neglecting people rather than helping them return to their homes.
Our plan is to leave Southern Oregon on Dec. 3rd, completing the journey by Dec. 22nd at the latest. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more info or to pass along useful contacts, make a donation or volunteer to come along.
The only kitchen serving fresh, nutritious meals to the people of New Orleans east of Canal St. is being threatened with closure by city officials. The loose-knit coalition of groups known as 'the Rainbow Family of Living Light', best known for their yearly 4th of July Rainbow Gatherings at rotating locations throughout the country, have been instrumental in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. The mobile kitchen they founded in Waveland, Mississippi, the area hardest hit by the storm, has been consistently serving 2,000 people a day since its inception in early September.
The "Welcome Home Kitchen", as the Rainbow Family's Kitchen is known, has been serving well over 700 people each day for three meals a day, as well as providing free medical care, a distribution center of clothing and supplies, a community bulletin board and information table, and a sense of camaraderie that has brought smiles and hugs from people in the most desperate of circumstances.
But now the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of the New Orleans Emergency Operations Center, Ms. Cynthia Lear, has declared that the city will unilaterally shut the kitchen down on Wednesday, providing no alternative and no resources for the underserved in New Orleans. Ms. Lear has stated that there is no appeals process for this decision, even though community members at the Fauberg-Marigny neighborhood council meeting on Monday gave virtually unanimous support to the ongoing work of the kitchen.
Please call ms. cynthia sylvan lear, the deputy chief administrative officer of the new orleans emergency operations center at 504-658-2180 and Mayor Nagin at (504) 658-4924, Fax: (504) 658-4938 to express your dismay that such a resource would be unilaterally dismantled by the government while it is providing such an important resource for the community.
Related: www.remarelief.net/ | The Forming of the New Waveland Cafe | Ongoing reports from Waveland | After The Flood, There Were Rainbows | Pics of the Cafe in NOLA | /a> | Rising From Ruinscompilation of onsite reports from both kitchens
So here's that paragon of objective reporting, Aaron Brown of CNN, asking the 64 year-old Grandpa who just got the living shit beat out of him by four white cops if he was on 'drugs'when the cops went apeshit. 'Of course not', came the obviously truthful reply. Brown's tack was pre-scripted. Since the event, seen globally, the media mantra has been "Those poor cops, they're just overworked". Poor Grandpa, half is face is a big red scab, and Brown is asking if what the cops say is true, that he 'fell'. Grandpa breaks out into a hearty laugh and Brown's face registers confusion. It's a Black thing, Aaron. You wouldn't understand. Then Brown brings the robotic Anderson Cooper aboard to remind us once again how stressed out the poor cops are. Did I mention the five minutes they allowed the crazy officers'lawyer? He pontificated upon each blow, as CNN conveniently slowed the video clip, and calmly explained how the horrible beating you were seeing was really another thing altogether. An acceptable thing. Shades of Rodney King! Cooper's spin is that of a professional idiot who keeps asking "Is this proper procedure?" Of course it is, for Attilla the Hun. Cooper is also CNN's point guy on 911 coverup pieces. Debunking all '911 Truth" tellers is his forte'. Endless mercurial analysis on these news shows will eventually dilute the impact of this affair. Cooper again- "The cop is kicking him in the head twice as he lies in his own pool of blood- is this normal procedure?" If Cooper can't tell, he's not even a member of the human race. "It's just not the best way to deal with this" he finalizes. [ read more ]
related articles: [ New Orleans police "Loot Squad" beat 64-year-old man bloody | Another police beating ]
this is a really excellent talk given by the founders of common ground in new orleans...
I hope everyone from pdx that has ability will make a time to visit out here sometime.
The project here is truly showing the potential of a grassroots collective to effect major change and there is real hope that this and other progressive projects can be a powerful force in NO against gentrification and for positive changes on so many fronts. [ read more ]
On October 4, Malik Rahim, a longtime community activist in New Orleans and San Francisco, spoke at the Women's Building in San Francisco about the situation in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous response by the Bush administration and other government agencies. Malik, who lives in the Algiers community of New Orleans, discussed the grassroots community relief and rebuilding efforts underway through the Common Ground collective. [ read more | download the mp3 | download the torrent ]
related articles: [ Free Market Idiocy and Easy Money in the Big Easy | The Hurricane Same Series | Society without Make-Up | The Dead | Video: The debacle of the federal governemts response to the Katrina hurricane | New Orleans: The Tell Tale Heart | Katrina and the Prehistory | Real Reports of Katrina Relief - September 24th - Rita Edition | Food Not Bombs Feeds Survivors in Houston, New Orleans | New Orleans Resident Opens Community Center In Her Home ]