Letter from Endesha Juakali
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION FOR PUBLIC, SUBSIDIZED, AND RENTERS HOUSING RIGHTS
3820 ALFRED ST., NEW ORLEANS, LA. 70122
Sisters and Brothers,
As per my commitment made at the base building meeting tonight [1/10/08], I am submitting in writing some of the points and suggestions I put forth to the committee.
- In accordance with the history of the New Orleans struggle around public housing I am suggesting that we have a major march on the official Martin Luther King holiday, which is Monday January 21, 2008. The theme of the march should be in opposition to racism, white supremacy and economic privilege.
- The march should be proceeded my a rally in front of Stacey Head’s house, it should proceed down St. Charles Ave. and end with us exercising our right to proceed down and have a rally at the end of Audubon place.
- We should then plan out a continuous campaign of protest against all of the city council members, both individually and collectively as a body. Every week we should call for rallies in front of their homes as well as calling another protest at the council to let them know that a political consequence must be paid for the illegal and brutal actions that were perpetrated on December 20, 2007.
- We should also begin a campaign now to build over the next three years to replace them with persons who will respect our constitutional as well as human rights. This could anchor our program to bring back the citizens of the black communities that they are working to exclude…i.e. the better than 65% of black New Orleans who were renters, the thousands of residents of public housing, the many section 8 renters who lived in the apartments in New Orleans East, and the working class families who lived in the upper and lower ninth ward and Ponchartrain Park. This campaign should include both voter registration and voter education.
- We should expand our strategies to include all forms of political struggle i.e. electoral politics, community organization, direct action, alliances and coalition, economic actions, and effective propaganda/community education.
- In regards to to upcoming sports and entertainment events we should look at these as a means to get our story out. Therefore instead of attempting to disrupt these events we should do professional picket signs and leaflets, and do informational pickets at these events.
- In order to expand our support base we should in the near future seek to organize a citywide housing as a human right leadership summit. I would like to see if we could get it joint sponsored and hosted by Southern University in New Orleans and one of the programs at Loyola (just an idea).
I WOULD ALSO INVITE EVERYONE TO COME TO ST. BERNARD ON THIS SATURDAY TO SUPPORT THOSE RESIDENTS WHO WILL ENTER THEIR APARTMENTS TO RETREIVE THEIR PROPERTY AND OTHER BELONGINGS.
- Lastly I would like to emphasize my opposition to any actions in the B.W. Cooper development that is not supported by Yvonne Marreo, and the Resident Management Corp. Every time any group goes into Cooper without the support of the resident leadership it sets the overall public housing movement back by pushing the RMC closer to HUD/HANO and the regressive forces. We all should know by now that the buildings that are being demolished are units that the RMC, has been trying to get demolished for almost a decade.
- We do not have the right to ignore these Black women who have been seeking to improve the conditions in Cooper for over two decades … even if you disagree with them. Those who seek to go into Cooper and any other development and cause dissension among residents by joining one group and encouraging them to fight against other residents are a part of the problem, not the solution. The proper path that we must take in Cooper is to encourage residents to sit down amongst themselves and come up with a general consensus; we then must support their decision. Otherwise we put ourselves in the position of saying we know better than they do, what’s best for their homes. I have asked Sam Jackson to sit down with Ms. Marrero and others to seek a common ground; he has agreed to do this. Until this is done we should stay out of Cooper.