People's Hurricane Relief Fund and Reconstruction Oversight Committee
Baton Rouge Meeting Report
September 15, 2005

In the wake of the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, intensified by catastrophic, criminal government neglect and racist repression, Community Labor United — a New Orleans based coalition dedicated to creating spaces for grassroots organizations to engage in dialogue, strategic planning and build collective work — has been facilitating the development of a People's Hurricane Relief Fund and Reconstruction Oversight Committee.

More than 42 organizations participated in the convening meeting of the People's Hurricane Fund in Baton Rouge on Saturday September 10, 2005, to develop a People's Oversight Committee with the purpose of overseeing all aspects of recovery and reconstruction for our people. The Committee is dedicated to building and maintaining a coordinated network of community leaders, organizers and community based organizations with the capacity and organizational infrastructure to help meet the needs of people most affected by Katrina, and to facilitate an organizing process that will demand local, grassroots black and progressive leadership in the relief, return and reconstruction process in New Orleans.

The evacuees from Hurricane Katrina call on the world community to support our demands for determining our own future. The population of New Orleans is 67% black, 40% illiterate, with more than 30 % living below the poverty line. The abandonment, neglect and militarization by the government have led community leaders and evacuees to determine that we will take the necessary, comprehensive steps to redevelop our communities, our homes, our lives, attend to our well being. The official entities — federal and local government agencies  — have criminally failed the black survivors of Katrina, and are engaged in the militarization of our city, constituting a form of ethnic cleansing, what we believe to be a gross violation of civil and international human rights. We believe ourselves to be operating without a government, and like ravaged and attacked communities throughout the world, we call upon conscious and compassionate people throughout this nation and the world to support us in our claim to determine our destinies.

We are committed to creating space to engage all those who want to work in support of our recovery and reconstruction, within the United States and throughout the world community.

We are developing working committees and will call for volunteers to begin to sign up for committees on Tuesday, September 20, 2005. Some examples of the work that needs volunteers is:

International Call

We will be presenting a petition on behalf of New Orleans and Gulf Coast Region Survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to investigate the conditions that brought about the worst disaster in U.S. history and to help ensure social justice for the Survivors, their rights to return to their communities, economic redress for their losses, and a speedy reconstruction of new communities with affordable housing for all and repaired levees and other protections against preventable tragedies.

We call on international human rights communities to join in the demand to keep the spotlight on the actions of the U.S. government, to hold it accountable for its actions, and to support the self determination of Katrina survivors.

We call on international human rights monitors to come to New Orleans to show the world the disgraceful actions perpetrated against the people in our communities.

Please let everyone know that tax-deductible donations should be earmarked for the People's Hurricane Relief Fund and checks made out to:

Vanguard Public Foundation
383 Rhode Island St., Ste 301
San Francisco, CA 94103

For more information about the People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Reconstruction Project, please email

Website coming soon!

Copyright © 2005
Last Modified: September 20, 2005.
(Labor donated)