A Note on Katrina

The recent disaster brought on by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast of the U.S. has left us grief-stricken for the devastation that it has caused to the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans, as well as angry at the ineffective and racist response of our government to the needs of the victims. We witnessed it just eight months ago in South and Southeast Asia, where mechanisms for preparedness before the fact could have averted much of the damage, and reconstruction after the fact has been shaped to suit the interests of corporate developers and tourism industries. We are seeing it again within our own country. While our grief and rage persist, we stand in solidarity with the many individuals and organizations who are working to improve relief systems in the absence of a managed government response, and bring some justice to the distribution of resources during this time. Below we have listed several projects and websites where you can gain more insight into what is happening and what people are doing about it.

A group of activists concerned with the consequences of the Indian Ocean Tsunami have released a statement making connections between relief and reconstruction in Sri Lanka and the Gulf Coast.

SAMAR Collective member Anandaroop Roy, who is originally from New Orleans, has been keeping a blog on his personal website.

An extensive list of grassroots/ low-income/people-of-color-led relief efforts can be found at May First / People-Link.

Community Labor United, a New Orleans coalition of labor and community activists, has organized a People's Hurricane Fund which will be directed and administered by New Orleanian evacuees. Read the statement on WBAI.org or a short article at Monthly Review. You can donate here.

Southern Mutual Help Association is a 36-year-old development organization working for systemic change in distressed rural communities in Southern Louisiana. Please read their statement on Katrina.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. Their national headquarters are in New Orleans and they are asking for your help.

In New York, Prison Moratorium Project are teaming up with Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to organize a relief effort. Read their flyer for details on needed items and dropoff locations or go to their homepage and scroll down for NYC-area volunteer opportunities.

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