Dear Friends and Community-
Please read this brief announcement and see if there is any way you can offer assistance at this watershed moment in American history.
I am in regular communication with Kerul Dyer, an incredible community organizer and visionary activist who is working tirelessly with the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans to offer basic aid to the devastated communities of the Deep South. The stories she has to tell about what is happening on the ground there right now are almost beyond belief. The degree of devastation and the beauty of humanity in the face of mass suffering are stories that need to be told.
Hundreds of thousands of people are still homeless, toxic mud, water snakes and black mold still fill tens of thousands of homes. Meanwhile, the entrenched racism and ugly class dynamics of the Deep South are leaving the hardest hit areas- mostly poor, urban, African-American neighborhoods, without even the most basic aid from FEMA, the Red Cross or the National Guard.
Kerul and the dedcated crew of volunteer activists she is working with are very often the first relief workers of any kind to offer aid to the people they are helping. They are operating a clinic in Algiers that is offering healthcare to thousands of people- and distributing basic supplies like water, food, diapers and cleaning materials to hundreds of people a day.
They are tarping leaky roofs, defending households from racist harassment by the local police forces, and cleaning up trash and debris from neighborhoods where clean up efforts have not even begun. She told me about one woman who is using abandoned cars and discarded marine batteries to power street lamps so people can work at night when the temperatures are slightly more bearable than the oppressive heat of the day. Others are operating a pirate community radio station to give a people a source of news and information and ways to access services to the greater New Orleans Area.
They need your help. They need the support of people of conscience who wish to offer "solidarity, not charity" as they say. The people of New Orleans and the region need to know they are not forgotten, and that as the land grab and power grab already underway intensifies- there are people near and far who will not let their homes, neighborhoods and culture be gentrified out of existense by the 'good ole boy' white supremecist politics that maintain near total control there.
If you can doante money, please do- I can pass money directly onto Kerul, who is serving without pay as unofficial Director of Operations for the Common Ground Relief Collective. Or you can visit their site at www.commongroundrelief.org.
They are organizing a national caravan to head to Louisiana in the teens of November for a 5 day blitz of clean up and relief work in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The Oxygen Collective bus may be making the trip. Consider volunteering your time and attending the caravan. If you cannot come, consider donating supplies or organizing a benefit to make it possible for others who can.
This is a disaster event of historic, unprecedented proportions and beneath the desperation of the moment there is a strong hope that this recovery effort could break the strangle hold of poverty and racism dominating Southern culture for so long- already there are stories of empowerment and solidarity in the African American communities there that would have been unthinkable just months ago.
Stay tuned and be aware that big media is not telling anything close to the whole story. Help is needed now and in the coming months as much as it was weeks ago.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation or for more info. Thank you.
Posted by: Laurel