KPFK Special On-Line Report to Our Listeners:
The Caravan of Hope and Distribution of
Funds for Katrina ReliefKPFK appreciates your contribution as a dedicated KPFK listener to our Caravan of Hope for the children and families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. KPFK sent 13 vehicles from our station parking lot on September 16, filled to the brim with water, food and essential goods and items from you our listeners that were sorted, packed and loaded by volunteers at the station. The Caravan drove straight through to Louisiana, arrived safely and, directed by Veterans for Peace, distributed supplies to the most needy survivors. KPFK reporters accompanied the Caravan reporting daily on local relief efforts.
During my vacation, I flew to Louisiana and reported from New Orleans and other impacted cities and towns. In the course of traveling 1000 miles per day, we met with organizations based in the community and identified organizations with projects rooted in affected communities and already engaged in relief activities. Following our major on-air fundraising on September 15, during which time you our listeners contributed $100,000 for Katrina survivors, KPFK distributed $25,000 each to four qualified non-profit organizations:
- The People's Hurricane Relief Fund c/o Vanguard Public Foundation representing more than 70 local organizations in the Gulf Coast
- Community Labor United, comprised of 37 organizations working in New Orleans
- The Southern Relief Fund c/o Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights
- Veterans For Peace, Chapter 110, Orange County.
Each organization outlined the scope of their work for Katrina families and were required to submit a written report to KPFK in December. We are posting their reports for your information.
Your gift helped people take the next step in rebuilding their lives. Whatever else you do in your life, remember your gift and how it came to the aid of so many abandoned and vulnerable people. Also, please know that your desire to help others and your spirit of giving inspires us all at KPFK and encourages us to fulfill our mission for peace and social justice actively and with love.
Thank you for working together with us to bring hope and sustenance to our brothers and sisters with direct and immediate assistance.
Eva Georgia, general manager
People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition (PHRF)
Report to KPFK
(September ~ December 8, 2005)
WHAT'S BEING DONE
Distribution of Goods
September 2005: Pastors for Peace Caravan
7 truckloads of aid (the vehicles were 20-ft box trucks and large school buses),
each vehicle containing an assortment of: new and used clothing; shoes, bottled water; nonperishable food; blankets; toiletries; household supplies; cleaning supplies; baby food; diapers and baby supplies. Delivered through the PHRF network in 7 different cities for distribution by the PHRF to survivors of Hurricane Katrina: Gloster, MS, Columbia, MS, Jackson, MS, Algiers and New Orleans, LA , Baton Rouge, LA, Lake Charles, LA and Houston, TX .
October 2005: Second pastors for peace caravan to LA/MS
3 truckloads of aid delivered to five sites distributed by PHRF to survivors of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Demolition and clean-up supplies delivered to PHRF in the Seventh and Ninth Wards of New Orleans: two generators, air compressor, saws and blades, drills and bits, roofing nails, hammers, dust masks, tool belts, paint rollers, paint brushes, buckets, levels, tape measures, square measures, earplugs, prybars, crowbars, wrecking bars, other demolition and reconstruction tools, work gloves, rubber boots, assorted medicines delivered to PHRF in Algiers, 2 generators and demolition/reconstruction tools delivered to PHRF in Jackson, MS, One truckload of nonperishable food, bottled water, and household supplies delivered to PHRF in Lake Charles, LA
October 2005: The Million Worker March Movement and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10
10 forty feet containers from various employers of ILWU Local 10 to send much needed supplies to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. PHRF assisted in facilitating efforts to get the items our union members and community volunteers sent to Gulf. Additional containers will be coming from an ILWU Local in the Pacific North West in a few weeks, to be distributed by PHRF.
Two broad engagement strategic planning sessions have been held.
September 8, Baton Rouge, LA
September 30-October 2, Penn Center, SC
Out of these sessions:
- Initial Goals and Demands were identified
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- An Interim Coordinating Committee was formed, consisting of 10 members from Louisiana and Mississippi
- Commitment to organize From Outrage to Action: General Assembly for Survivors on December 9th and March in New Orleans for human rights and the right to return on December 10th (International Human Rights Day)
- 14 Work Groups and 2 Caucuses were formed that identified goals and work to implement comprehensive strategies. These work groups are:
Interim Coordinating Committee-
- Serves as the main decision making body for PHRF
- Oversees PHRF budget, staff and activities planning and implementation
- Participates in active outreach to build unity and coalition among individuals and organizations at a local and national level
- Acts as spokespeople and fundraisers for PHRF
Arts, Culture and Story Collection-
- Developing a Katrina educational/political production
- Holding workshops on indigenous New Orleans culture
- Working in conjunction with PHRF Legal Team to create national archive
- Authoring a song and planning cultural components for the December 9th and 10th events taking place in Jackson, MS and New Orleans
- Collaborated with Common Ground & C3/Hands Off Iberville to develop New Orleans Housing Emergency Action Team (NO HEAT) and co-sponsored a Housing Emergency Mass meeting in New Orleans and housing march
- Distributed Spanish Language Worker's Rights flyers from National Employment Law Project to members of the health clinic, who do outreach to Latino Workers
- Developing a proposal for a New Orleans Worker's Center
- Supporting the launch of the "Finding Our Folks Tour" with the Young Peoples Project
- Developing a Katrina Curriculum- to be distributed to schools and after school programs
- Katrina Quilt- made up of pieces made by children affected by Katrina
- Gathering narratives (high school and college students) for special issues of the High School Journal & Urban Review dedicated to questions in education raised by Katrina
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Environmental Health and Justice-
- Convened group of environmental experts to do independent testing in New Orleans
- Distributing protective wear and supplies (goggles, gloves, respirators)
- Produced a brochure with safety information for community residents that have returned to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region
- Compiling information for a community education report on testing results
Finance and Fund Raising-
- Secured fiscal agent with non-profit status for donations
- Oversees fund growth, which is now at $550,000
- Holds bi-weekly meetings to review income and expenditures and makes proposals to the Interim Coordinating Committee based on needs
- Developed a budget for 2005 and is developing a projected budget for 2006
- Lends support to existing clinics in the New Orleans area
- Developing proposal for a Women's Clinic and Center in coalition with health care providers in New Orleans and nationally
- Researching provisions to support continued free health care in New Orleans after the "state of emergency" ends on 12/3105
- Coordinated the distribution of 35 trucks of food, water, clothes, safety equipment and other needed supplies to 8 cities in the Gulf Coast Region
- Located and organized warehouses in Jackson, MS and Baton Rouge, LA to store supplies for continued distribution
- Responds to ongoing calls from survivors for supplies from the 1.800 number
- Connects survivors in areas outside of the South to supporters in their area for assistance
- Sending attorneys, legal students and volunteers into the field for survivor story collection to build an archive and class action lawsuits
- Trains volunteers for story collection
- Filing suits on- eviction, neighborhood bulldozing, gentrification, Gretna Police Department
- Developing a proposal for a legal clinic in New Orleans
- Established internal Communications Flow protocol
- Works to support partner organizations events and planning
- Generates and Disseminates materials
- Supports Outreach, website development
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- Held an in-person full strategy session on optimizing media efforts
- Meets weekly via conference call to gather resources for a locally led reconstruction effort
- Convening a group of architects, urban planners, carpenters and developers to layout a plan of reconstruction
- Helped facilitate delegations to visit and assess the area
Safety Justice and Accountability-
- Held press conference calling for an Independent Investigation in Orleans Parish Prison Evacuation
- Developing a proposal for unified criminal justice collaborative on local, regional and national levels
- Convening a session in 2006 on the development of a tribunal addressing the accountability of the governments responsibility in this travesty
Volunteer Coordination- individual
- Fields emails and calls from interested volunteers
- Provides an overview of PHRF to volunteers and assists with logistical information
- Coordinates with Communication Center staff about volunteers
Volunteer Coordination- organizational
- Ongoing development of a database of supportive organizations
- Outreach to provide information to and build coalition with organizations
- Worked on Unity Proposal
- Building a network of survivors and supporters in Philadelphia, New York city, Washington, D.C. Baltimore, Richmond, Detroit, California's Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, North Carolina's Raleigh/Mountain
- Provides support for survivor organizations and councils
- Developing plan to unify organizing efforts
- Works to ensure that women's voices and leadership are present and respected
- Developed â€˜Terms of Reference' as Guiding Principles to raise women's issues
- Supports the opening of the Women's Clinic and Center in New Orleans
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4 Community Communications Centers Opened to provide assistance and ensure ongoing organizing of survivors.
Atlanta, GA- John O'Neal, email@example.com , Althea Francois, firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, TX- Malcolm Suber, email@example.com , 713.751.7990
Jackson, MS- Lukata Chikuyu and Mercedes Washington, 253 Pine Hollow Circle, Jackson, MS 39212, 601.346.5970
New Orleans, LA- Robert Caldwell, Mayaba Liebenthal and Leon Waters,
2226 Ursulines Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119
5 Organizing staff hired
2 Consultants retained
Corlita Mahr, Media
Ishmael Muhammad, Attorney- Legal
Established a toll-free information line
Information current December 8, 2005
Community Labor United (CLU
Report of Work
(September ~ December 8, 2005)
Who We Are
Community Labor United (CLU), founded in 1998, is a coalition of community based organizations of the greater New Orleans area. The purpose of CLU is to bring together organizations to work on socio-political issues. Most recently before Hurricane Katrina, CLU's focus was the Quality Education as a Civil Right Campaign and brought together groups who were interested in improving public education in New Orleans and nationally.
During the first year of CLU's existence, the following Principles of Unity were developed and these principles provide the basis for CLU's work and are read at the beginning of CLU's monthly community breakfast forums:
- We are community leaders, labor leaders, and cultural workers committed to ending the exploitation of oppressed peoples everywhere.
- We believe that all people have the right and responsibility to determine their destiny.
- Our organizations and unions are committed to building a society where the realities of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation are not barriers to human progress.
- We are committed to building a society where the bottom line interests of corporations and the rich are not balanced on the backs of workers and the poor.
- We are committed to building local, regional, national, and world economies that are democratic, just, ecological, and do not exploit labor, culture, and natural resources.
- We are committed to building an organization of organizations and individuals, focused on educating, organizing, and mobilizing the masses within our organizations and communities from the bottom up.
- We believe in the prospect of multiracial and transgenerational efforts to develop our communities.
Relationship and work with the People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition (PHRF)
After Hurricane Katrina, as a coalition from New Orleans whose focus it is to open up a space for which organizations working on common issues could meet, discuss and plan, CLU launched the People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition. CLU continues its work in New Orleans, now focused mostly on hurricane survivor issues and ensuring that those most affected have a central role in decisions made about relief, return and reconstruction.
CLU's first work was to locate and connect back together coalition members who had evacuated and been displaced. As the New Orleans exchange (504) was down for almost a month, this work was done mostly through email and with those who had access to phone numbers with
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different exchanges. As many CLU activists did not have access to email and phone during this time, the process of locating everyone was challenging and is still in progress.
After locating some coalition members, CLU sent out the first Call to Action at a national level for those interested in joining and supporting this work. The overwhelming response to this call led to the establishment of a fund that accepted donations and the organizing of a retreat at Penn Center, where PHRF was officially launched.
Most of CLU's work now focuses on supporting the development of PHRF. Four CLU activists serve on the PHRF Interim Coordinating Committee. Four additional CLU activists participate in PHRF workgroups. With the understanding that PHRF is a national coalition with local leadership, CLU has stepped up to provide some of this local leadership and assist in moving the work of PHRF ahead.
In November, CLU has restarted its community forums, currently on a biweekly basis. In an effort to build unity among those working on the ground in New Orleans, CLU volunteers invite New Orleans area organizations to attend forums to discuss how to strengthen the work and better work together. CLU will continue to convene its regular monthly breakfast forum in the New Year.
Hurricane Katrina Grant report
Southern Relief Fund of the
Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, on September 2, 2005, the Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights (the Center) established the Southern Relief Fund (the Fund) in response to the immediate and long term needs of our members and other low income people. The Fund has three major components: Emergency Relief and Solidarity (which includes advocacy to prevent evictions, foreclosures and insurance denials); Documentation (video taped interviews and photographs, publications and programs highlighting the racial and class disparities that have been magnified by conditions after Katrina) and the Witness Delegation which deploys lawyers and activists to the region to gather information and provide long term advocacy and organizing support.
In terms of immediate relief, three days after Katrina, Center staff took food, ice, gasoline, toilet items, towels and other necessities to our members and their families on the Mississippi gulf coast. Through the Southern Relief Fund, the Center has taken truck caravans back and forth delivering cleaning supplies and other requested items. On its most recent relief "run," the Center's staff and volunteers took a truck load of bicycles for people who lost their cars and would otherwise be stranded and unable to look for work, pick up life's necessities, e.g. Red Cross vouchers and relief stipends, etc. On that same "run", we took school supplies to 100 students in East Biloxi. In addition, we provided toiletries and house ware items for displaced families residing in Sunflower, MS. For the Thanksgiving holiday, we provided dinners for hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast and Sunflower, MS. We also provided a grant to Ingalls Workers for Justice to be distributed to those members who suffered severe and/or total property loss as well as those who are in need of immediate medical supplies. We made a grant to the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund in support of the "From Outrage to Action - State of Emergency" Conference and Rally.
Another concrete example of this work, which is grounded in the Center's program for action, is the establishment of the Betty Fowler Center for Communications. Using Southern Relief Fund donations, the Center has teamed up with the first African American mayor of the Town of Sunflower, Mississippi to establish a communications center, complete with computer stations and study areas. The Town of Sunflower is one of the sites where Internally Displaced Persons have relocated. The communications center will provide valuable assistance for individuals who want to locate relatives and friends, search the net for employment opportunities and obtain other important information. This center is a vital resource for this predominately African American municipality, where many still live below the poverty line.
The Center also is coordinating Witness Delegations with university and law students. UCLA law students are scheduled to arrive in the region at the end of October and work with low wage workers and African American families whose insurance claims have been denied. The team which will be supervised by local lawyers and others from other parts of the country, also will assist apartment dwellers who are being threatened with evictions and arbitrary changes in lease agreements, as well as rent hikes. In the coming months, the Witness Delegation program will host work tours co-sponsored by our organizational partners, including the Magnolia Bar Association (the state's African American bar), Fannie Lou Hamer Roundtable, MACE and others. In January 2006, the Witness Delegation will be taking another trip down to the Gulf Coast. This group will consist of law students from CUNY, Sarah Lawrence and UCLA, as well as lawyers and activists to continue conducting needs assessments/intakes and providing advocacy and organizing support. This will be a week long activity with follow-up by the CUNY students the 2nd week. Another delegation is being scheduled for March 2006 and other delegations will be scheduled throughout the year.
We have begun implementing a documentation program. We hired a professional photographer who traveled with us to the Coast and has done extensive photographing of the area, highlighting the racial and class disparities with regard to debris removal and clean-up, as well as relief efforts. We have video taped interviews with a number of community residents who told stories of widespread neglect of poor and African American communities by the Red Cross and FEMA in particular. In addition, we have video taped conditions inside houses and in the community.
Through the Relief Fund and Witness Delegation Project, we have directly provided advocacy, organizing support, relief and solidarity for over 1,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina. We continue to reach hundreds through our mass mailings and mass messaging.
NOTE: The grant was spent in its entirety. An itemized listing of all expenses is available upon request.
Veterans For Peace, Chapter 110 Orange County California
We, with Veterans For Peace, Chapter 110 Orange County California, would like to thank everyone from KPFK and their listeners from the bottoms of our hearts for all you have done to help us accomplish what we have in the hurricane region. In the few months we have been running this hurricane relief, Camp Covington & Beyond: Caravans of Hope, with the funds you donated, we have been able to send over 65 tons of supplies, about 60 volunteers through our caravans and other means, several donated vans which are being used for medical outreach and transportation of volunteers, supported a clinic in Algiers (the poorest region of New Orleans) with supplies and volunteers, helped the Rainbow Kitchen in New Orleans with 2 extra large cook stoves, commercial sized pots & pans & utensils and an ongoing propane account at the local hardware store to keep the stoves going, sent supplies and approx 30 volunteers to SOS (Saving Our Selves) in Mobile to help them with distribution of the supplies which we and other organizations have sent them for victims/survivors throughout the region, supplied 8 (17 kids) families with school uniforms they would not have otherwise had (and a few extra things like socks, etc.)(they were not allowed in school without them), provided resources and money to other organizations for their needs including AIDSAIL, Common Ground, SOS, Rainbow Kitchen. Also we have helped individuals calling with specific needs like volunteers who needed money to return to their homes and hurricane victims who needed specific items such as wheelchairs or medical supplies or clothing. Doesn't sound like much when written down, but believe me the phone calls from individuals, ministers, community leadership people, volunteers and organizations thanking us and you all for our efforts make us realize how much we all have done.
Without KPFK Pacifica Radio's listeners in Los Angeles and their generous donations we would not have been able to accomplish so much good for the Katrina and Rita survivors and the communities they live in. We also want to thank Anaheim Union High School District for their support and supply drive in October which help fill our first truck load to the Mobile warehouse. Thanks must also be made to the individual schools in Los Angeles and Orange County that went out their way to have fund drives and supply drives on their own for the relief effort. The generosity of the communities in Orange and Los Angeles Counties has been phenomenal.
Many thanks also go to all the KPFK listeners who brought donated goods to the radio station for shipment to the stricken areas. Part of which went with the first caravan from the KPFK parking lot, and much more which was brought to Orange County by KPFK workers to go on the first semi load to SOS in Mobile for distribution.
The donations that KPFK listeners have given were also used here in California to buy products in short supply in the Gulf region that are not normally donated by individuals due to the size of the items or the cost, but sorely needed. Items such as 40 wheelbarrows, 100 shovels and rakes, boxes of hammers and other demolition and rebuilding tools, hundreds of gallons of bleach and clean up products, hundreds of commercial grade trash bags, huge push brooms, hundreds of tarps, not to mention volunteer needs such as huge coffee pots, gloves, respirators, masks, etc.
While in stores buying goods and supplies we received calls from SOS. We were already loaded with medical supplies and household products like sheets, blankets, pillows, kitchen
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towels, bath towels and wash clothes, cough medicine, flu medicine, aspirin, allergy medicine and items needed by seniors and the like. They called to say the weather there was getting cold. Could we please send some coats. Off we went to buy at least 100 coats (we lost count, but had all sizes and gender) & 150 blanket totals. All of those supplies bought with your donations, plus many donated items went on the second semi truck load. When we called SOS in Mobile when the truck arrived, you could hear people in the warehouse background screaming with cheers as they unloaded all the supplies, a very emotional moment.
Huge hugs and thanks go to all the volunteers, most of whom are KPFK listeners, here in Orange County and in Los Angeles County. These are the ones that went to the hurricane areas to work and the ones here at home, without whom none of this could have been done. They have taken time out of their busy lives to help us help the people in the South. Everyone, from those that drove around picking up supplies at different place in both counties, separating and packing boxes, loading semi-trucks by hand, driving straight through on little sleep to get to Camp Covington and Mobile to help those in need, everyone was wonderful. We have all said the same thing, it has been a life altering experience to say the least.
So with all of that said, we must bring Camp Covington & Beyond:Caravans of Hope to a close so that Veterans for Peace, Chapter 110 Orange County can move on to their other projects, like ending the war in Iraq. And we are moving on to another project to help those still in desperate need in the areas hit by the hurricanes. Our new project, Alliance for Environmental Recovery: An Educational Foundation has been formed and our non-profit 501c3 status filed for by the Founders of the organization: myself, Kathie Kelly, my husband Dan Kelly, Vivian Felts & Paul Robinson (Mobile residents & two of the Founders of SOS), Mark Ruter and Michelle Hefley (VFP Chapter 110 members and now residents of New Orleans). This foundation has been established to educate low income and poor people in the region of the dangers and safety precautions they must take when working around mold and rebuilding their homes and businesses. Even though this is not a VFP project, we do have the blessing and support of National Veterans For Peace. Please watch your emails for our new web site very soon and how you too can help.
We won't say goodbye at this point as we have made so many new friends, life time friends that we are sure to have contact with in the future for other worthwhile projects. So, talk to you later, peace, and continue to help others in this world less fortunate than yourselves.