New Orleans needs your support

Organization: 
Author: 
Ingrid Chapman
Date Published: 
December 8, 2007
New Orleans needs your support this week

Hey folks,

I really want to encourage you all to do what you can to support the struggle to stop the demolitions of Public Housing in New Orleans, below are some ways you can.  This is a incredibly intense and important moment right now to support thousands of working class and Black residents of New Orleans from being permanently displaced from their home.  National solidarity is Needed!!!

Ways to get support:

Come to New Orleans and participate in Direct Actions. Participate in a solidarity actions. Call all the representative you can below and put the pressure on nationally. Share this information with others and ask them to take action. Send folks you know who are from New Orleans or live hear loving and supportive email text and phone messages. Donate money for supplies, many orgs down here are broke. Pray, meditate, do what ever you do to send some hope, energy and love to folks in and from New Orleans engaged in this struggle.

I have been in New Orleans for just a couple days and am really feeling the enormity of this moment.  Next week developers are scheduled to begin demolishing 4 major public housing complexes, a total of 4605 low-income housing units. Only 744 are slated to be rebuilt.  Resulting in thousands and thousands of low income families unable to return home to New Orleans and or homeless. This is all happening while the government is evicting thousands of people out of the FEMA trailer parks.  They are planning to kick everyone out within the next 3 month, that is 52,000 families!  This is also happening at the same time that there are hundreds of homeless people camped out in tents across from city hall.  The city gov has been threatening to go in this weekend and destroy the homeless encampment and erect a fence around the park.

Homeless folks have been organizing under the name of Homeless Pride and have had up to a thousand people sleeping across from city hall and have been occupying the park for months.  They estimate that there are currently between 12 and 16 thousand homeless people in New Orleans right now.

Residents of public housing have been fiercely organizing to reopen public housing for the past 2 years. They have done many marches, occupied the multiple housing complexes, done sit ins at government officials offices in Washington DC, erected protest villages in front of the fences holding them out, had sit down meetings with city, state and federal officials and much more.   Residents and allies are working really hard to hold off the wrecking balls and bulldozers these coming weeks.  National solidarity is vital right now.

Contractors have to begin demolition by the 18th [of December 2007] to get millions of dollars tax credits. Direct Actions are being organized for next week to trying do what every we can to hold off the developers until the 18th in hope that can give us more time to build pressure to permanently hold them off.  Hundreds of people are stepping up locally and nationally committing to risk arrest and participate in these direct actions.  There is a strong call from folks locally for people nationally to come to New Orleans and participate in the Direct Actions, the call is below.

There are also solidarity actions happening around the country [including one in Oakland, CA on December 14, 2007].
 

Call to Action in New Orleans

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 Pledge"

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. ...

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

[The National Call:]

Support the Struggle for Public Housing in New Orleans Everywhere!


We are calling on our national allies who cannot join us in New Orleans on December 10th to take action at home against the demolitions and in support of housing as a human right.  Because the assault on public housing in New Orleans is a threat on public housing across the U.S.,  we must stand up nationwide in the fight against neoliberalism and racism.  We need people to make calls demanding the reopening of public housing AND organize demonstrations at local HUD and other government buildings on December 10th [2007] - Human Rights Day. 

Call-In Numbers:

City Council Member Stacey Head:  Head has been the leading force on the City Council in pushing for the demolitions and mixed income housing.

City Council Member Shelley Midura:  Encourage Midura to oppose the demolitions and support the reopening of public housing.

D.H. Griffin: The Contractors hired to demolish Lafitte.  For the locations of local offices across the South go to http://www.dhgriffin.com/about/locations.asp.

Senator David Vitter: The Louisiana senator actively support the demolitions by blocking the passage of Senate Bill 1668: The Gulf Coast Recovery Act.  Put pressure on him to support SB 1668. ...

Senate Banking,Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Members:  SB 1668 is currently stuck in the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee.  Demand that they approve SB 1668:
Senator Christopher Dodd, Senator Tim Johnson, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Tom Carper, Senator