CLU Press Conference
September 6, 2005
4:00 p.m. CST outside the Reliance Center at Kirby and McNee
Houston, TX

New Orleans Black Community Leaders Charge Racism in Government Neglect of Hurricane Survivors

Press conference to announce plan to save lives and demand role in rebuilding effort

HOUSTON — A national alliance of Black community leaders will announce the formation of a New Orleans People's Committee to demand a decision-making role in the short-term care of hurricane survivors and long-term rebuilding of New Orleans.

Community Labor United (CLU), a New Orleans coalition of labor and community activists, has put out a call to activists and organizations across the country to work on a "people's campaign" of community redevelopment. Organizing efforts will take place across hundreds of temporary shelters.

The population of New Orleans is 67% Black and over 30% of the population lives below the poverty line, reflecting the current demographic of hurricane survivors displaced all over the South.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the White House, and Governor Blanco attempt to regain the public's trust by evading the question of who's to blame, a short and long-term plan for New Orleans hurricane survivors has remained in a political vault of silence.

"This is plain, ugly, real racism," states Curtis Muhammad, CLU Organizing Director. "While some politicians and organizations might skirt around the issue of race, we in New Orleans are not afraid to call it what it is. The moral values of our government is to 'shoot to kill' hungry, thirsty Black hurricane survivors for trying to live through the aftermath. This is not just immoral — this has turned a natural disaster into a man-made disaster, fueled by racism."

Leaders of CLU, in alliance with nearly twenty other local organizations and several national organizations will discuss their plan at a press conference:
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
at 4:00 p.m. CST
Outside the Reliance Center at Kirby and McNee.

The coalition will announce the formation of the New Orleans People's Committee composed of hurricane survivors from each of the shelters, which will:

  1. Demand to oversee FEMA, the Red Cross, and other organizations collecting resources on behalf of the Black community of New Orleans

  2. Demand decision-making power in the long-term redevelopment of New Orleans

  3. Issue a national call for volunteers to assist with housing, healthcare, education, and legal matters for the duration of the displacement

Tax-exempt donations for the People's Committee and the national coalition can be made out to:
Young People's Project
440 N. Mills St., Suite 200
Jackson, MS 39202

Community Labor United is a coalition of progressive organizations in New Orleans formed in 1998. Their mission is to build organizational unity and support efforts that address poverty, racism, and education. CLU organized in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane.

Curtis Muhammad is a veteran Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizer and co-founder of CLU.

For more information, please contact:

Curtis Muhammad
Community Labor United (CLU)

Becky Belcore
Quality Education as a Civil Right (QECR)

Becky Belcore
Volunteer Organizer
Louisiana Research Institute for Community Empowerment (LaRICE)
(h) 504.566.1415
(c) 312.804.3417

Copyright © 2005
Last Modified: September 6, 2005.
(Labor donated)