Louisiana NAACP Head Urges Shelter Denizens to Organize
Branden Coyle The New Standard, September 14th 2005
Sep 14 – As part of an extensive and ongoing effort to aid those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the head of the Louisiana arm of the NAACP called on survivors staying in shelters to begin organizing committees to handle resource distribution, information gathering and dissemination and agitating for better treatment from government agencies. Stating that “in unity there is strength,” Louisiana NAACP President Ernest L. Johnson urged the evacuees to immediately form committees and “elect a chairperson and a secretary and begin holding meetings, organizing and working as a team for better treatment.” An unknown number of people have sought refuge in shelters throughout the country, with Texas hosting at least 10,000 in shelters in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, the Associated Press reports. The Red Cross estimates that there are over 750,000 refugees from hurricane-ravaged areas. The organization said it is housing more than 75,000 people in nineteen states. As of yesterday, the federal government has provided financial assistance to 430,000 Katrina refugees, the Department of Homeland Security stated. Johnson’s announcement was conducted in coordination with several bloggers and came in advance of public service announcements on Baton Rouge radio and a web video release. As part of the organizing, Johnson said the evacuees should build a list of names to provide to FEMA workers to aid in benefit claims. The national NAACP has mobilized over 500,000 members to aid Katrina refugees, the AP reported today. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is also helping refugees organize. At a meeting of the New Orleans chapter in Baton Rouge, displaced members discussed plans to organize for better relief efforts, the group said. A similar meeting was held in Houston last Friday.
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