Bring the Ruckus Responds to Katrina Crisis
Call for Volunteers to Help Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
Bring the Ruckus September 13th 2005
In response to the Katrina crisis, Bring the Ruckus (BtR) has formed a solidarity network with Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC – pronounced “flick” for short). BtR aims to help FFLIC locate its missing leadership; regain its organizing structure; and connect displaced people with their family member(s) who were locked up in Louisiana prisons and jails when Katrina hit. FFLIC is a grassroots organization comprised mostly of mothers and grandmothers in Louisiana who have incarcerated kids. Prior to Katrina, the work of FFLIC was focused on closing Louisiana’s juvenile prisons and mandating that the state redirect the money toward quality community based programs for youth. In recent years, FFLIC, in partnership with their parent organization, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), has helped reduce the number of incarcerated children in Louisiana from 2,000 to less than 600, and together they won a huge campaign not long ago which paved the way for significant changes in the juvenile justice system, including the separation of the state’s juvenile system from the Department of Corrections. There was a private juvenile prison in Tallulah, Louisiana which FFLIC and JJPL first forced the state to take over from the private owners, then successfully campaigned to have closed altogether. Prior to Katrina, FFLIC was working with the community of Tallulah to have this prison transformed into a learning center – essentially, to turn a prison into a school. Since Katrina, FFLIC organizers have taken on the huge task of trying to connect displaced people to their family members – kids and adults – who were locked up in Louisiana when Katrina hit. Currently, the system in Louisiana is a mess – they still don’t know where thousands of prisoners are being held. FFLIC organizers are homeless and staying with friends and family in the Gulf region and Atlanta while trying to piece together their organization and figure out what needs to be done. Families scattered across the U.S. are desperately trying to find out where their kids and other family members are being locked up, where everyone is, and what’s going on.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Starting immediately, Bring the Ruckus is recruiting volunteers to do direct outreach to displaced people, both in the South and in their local regions where evacuees are being sheltered; coordinating that outreach with FLICC; and helping FFLIC build an online database of family members and people locked up in Louisiana – who they are, where they are, etc.
Direct outreach to evacuees
At the BtR website www.agitatorindex.org, there is are downloadable PDF posters from FFLIC providing information to displaced people on how to possibly contact their kids and other family members who were locked up prior to Katrina. (11 x 17 pdf poster is here, 22 x 35 pdf poster is here). If your city has an evacuee shelter, small or large, you can help by distributing this informational flyer, so at least people will have phone numbers to call. Optimally, this involves getting into shelters (this could be difficult) and asking evacuees personally if they have family members in prison in Louisiana. Volunteers should also be ready to take down information for FFLIC – evacuees’ names, address and phone # in Louisiana, address and phone # now (as much as is known), any other contact info, how long they expect to be there; as well as name of family member in prison, where and when family member was locked up before Katrina, if they’ve heard anything yet. In short, FFLIC needs as much information as possible. At the very least, try to get the shelter to post a flyer where folks can see it. FFLIC hopes to have a poster available soon, too. If you are able to do direct outreach to evacuees, either in your local area or by traveling to the South, please contact BtR at email@example.com. For the time being, Bring the Ruckus is working with others to coordinate volunteers and is acting as a liaison to FFLIC because its organizers are swamped with work and emails. Please report to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Progress on flyer distribution to evacuees
- Difficulties encountered at evacuee shelters
- Any and all information on prisoners and displaced family members
Bring the Ruckus will compile and forward all information to FFLIC.
Bring the Ruckus has established a Solidarity Fund to cover travel expenses for people going to evacuee centers where FFLIC needs personnel and to offer general financial support of FFLIC. FFLIC is also working to create a list of needed resources and supplies; BtR will post this information as soon as we have it. To donate to BtR’s Solidarity Fund, please make a check payable to Bring the Ruckus (note Solidarity Fund on memo line) and mail it to Bring the Ruckus-Hurricane Relief, PO Box 2252, Amherst, MA 01004. It would be helpful to let us know by email that a donation is en route: email@example.com. Donations made to BtR’s Solidarity Fund are not tax-deductible. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can donate to FFLIC directly. Make check payable to JJPL, write “FFLIC Hurricane Relief Fund” in the memo field, and send to 920 Platt Street, Sulphur, Louisiana, 70663.
Please email questions, as well as any information regarding Louisiana’s displaced prisoners and their families, to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Bring the Ruckus, a revolutionary organization of organizers, committed to an anti-statist, revolutionary feminist, and anti-capitalist vision of a new society, check out their website at http://www.agitatorindex.org/