National Conference of Black Lawyers blasts Bush regime

National Conference of Black Lawyers
Date Published: 
September 14, 2005

National Conference of Black Lawyers blasts Bush regime, calls for Black community self·reliance in assisting displaced persons

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) regards the Bush regime's racist and deliberate neglect of the thousands of victims of hurricane-related disasters as additional evidence that the corporate-dominated federal government does not have - and never has had - any interest in protecting the lives of African people and poor people anywhere in the world. Consequently, NCBL demands that appropriate officials authorize Cuban medical brigades and other medical professionals who stand in solidarity with the throngs of suffering people in the Gulf Coast region to provide much-needed medical care to disaster victims.

Additionally, NCBL calls upon the Black community in particular to approach this crisis with an understanding that our collective self-reliance is critical tel the survival of displaced individuals and families. To that end, NCBl members will provide legal assistance to persons who have lost their homes and possessions.

Cuban President Fidel Castro has repeated his offer to send more than 1,500 clinicians and specialists in comprehensive general medicine to attend to the r: medical needs of displaced U.S. residents. Compounding its unconscionable failure to act in this crisis, the Bush regime has declined to date to accept this much-needed humanitarian offer. This is consistent with the refusal to accept offers of assistance from Venezuela and others.

"The federal government's continuing refusal to attend to the needs of these people violates numerous recognized human rights that include but are not limited to rights to security of the person, employment, education and healthcare and freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment. In addition, the disaster has been an occasion to yet again criminalize African people during a period when they have reached the limits of desperation."

The now well-known instances of media characterizations of acts of survival as either "looting" or "finding," depending upon the race of the subject, as well as official orders for police to use violence against these individuals have brought into sharp relief the underlying racial dynamics that continue to drive U.S. society.

NCBL hopes to address the legal needs of displaced persons in a small way by assisting them with such tasks as preparing insurance claim forms, completing forms for public benefits and medical care, completing documents concerning missing persons, filing applications for FEMA assistance, etc. NCBl lawyers will also make themselves available to defend individuals prosecuted for "looting."

Finally, because of rumors that elite elements have a vision for a reconstructed New Orleans that does not include many displaced residents, NCBL will be monitoring developments carefully to ensure that displaced New Orleans residents will not lose their political and land rights.

NCBl was founded in 1968 to serve as the legal arm of the movement for Black liberation, to protect human rights, to achieve self-determination of Africa and African communities in the Diaspora and to work in coalition to assist in ending oppression of all peoples.

[Published in the San Francisco Bay View, September 14, 2005]