People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition Calls for Volunteers

People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition Calls for Volunteers

September 20th 2005

International Terrorist George Bush

Dear friends of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund,

Since Hurricane Katrina, Community Labor United ‚ÄĒ a New Orleans based coalition dedicated to creating spaces for grassroots organizations to¬† dialogue, strategize, and build collective work– has been facilitating the¬† development of a Peoples’ Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition. Due¬† to the enormity of the task ahead of us and the many different areas of work¬† that need to be addressed, it has become clear that a national coalition¬† must form to take on this project. ¬†Many of you have read the initial demands of the Peoples Hurricane Relief¬† Fund & Oversight Coalition. The document here below attempts to further¬† specify the goals and objectives of this coalition effort, and to¬† communicate a basic framework for organizing the massive body of work before¬† us. We also outline here a few of the many tasks we need folks to take¬† responsibility for. ¬†Some of the work groups already have contact people so if you are¬† interested in these work groups, please email the provided contact. They¬† will be convening conference call meetings in the near future to include new¬† volunteers. There will be a retreat at the end of the month (September 30)¬† and each work group should send a representative to present a report of your¬† work and future work plans. The meeting space will be announced shortly.¬†¬† Some of the work groups do not yet have contact people. If you are willing¬† to be the contact, please email Becky at bbelcore@hotmail.com. Also, if you¬† are interested in doing certain tasks not related to any committee, please¬† email Becky. ¬†For a strong, reunited, Peoples’ New Orleans, ¬†Peoples’ Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition


ACTION PLAN for a National Coalition with Local Leadership

OBJECTIVES OF THE COALITION

To build and maintain a coordinated network of community leaders, organizers  and community based organizations with the capacity and organizational  infrastructure that can help to meet the needs of people most impacted by  Hurricane Katrina and facilitate an organizing process that will demand  local, grassroots leadership in the relief, return and reconstruction  process in New Orleans.

GOALS OF THE COALITION

  • Manage the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and demand transparency¬†¬†¬† from FEMA and other major organizations raising funds and resources in the¬†¬†¬† people’s name
  • Help to coordinate and support grassroots relief and organizing¬†¬†¬† efforts and act as a clearinghouse for information and volunteers¬†¬†¬†¬† – Create and maintain an ongoing space for networking and strategizing¬†¬†¬† between organizers and volunteers
  • Facilitate return/rebuild process and ensure local, grassroots¬†¬†¬† leadership and participation in every phase¬† ORGANIZING STRUCTURE
  • Local oversight work group to coordinate all working groups and¬†¬†¬† facilitate communication¬†¬†¬†¬† – Establish 6 offices with a point person for each office in: New¬†¬†¬† Orleans, Baton Rouge, Jackson, Lake Charles, Houston and support Common¬†¬†¬† Ground’s office in Algiers¬†¬†¬†¬† – Establish “Survivors Councils” in cities across the country where¬†¬†¬† evacuees have been taken/ have settled to ensure their participation, input¬†¬†¬† and information distribution¬†¬†¬†¬† – Establish work groups (see below)

ORGANIZING PLAN

Encourage everyone to join a work group. Designate a point person from each  work group who can convene conference calls and email discussions for the  work group and who can be in touch with the communications centers.  Designate a point person for each communication center, even where no  physical offices exist. Host regular larger conference calls to get report  backs from work groups and communications centers.

WORK GROUPS AND IMMEDIATE TASKS

 Tasks that have been starred could be done by national volunteers

POLITICAL OVERSIGHT & RECONSTRUCTION immediate tasks:

  • ensure local grassroots participation in all aspects of the work
  • find out about and make sure someone attends all public meetings regarding¬† reconstruction
  • coordinate technicians who are assisting with reconstruction efforts¬† including construction brigades and provide trade skills training¬† – organize political responses at a local and national level based on the¬† demands and analysis coming out of the People’s Committee¬†¬† – draw individuals and groups that are part of the Black Liberation Movement¬† and coordinate resources and support
  • work with displaced evacuees to keep them informed and ensure their input¬† and participation¬† – organize brigades of technicians for the reconstruction work
  • help to monitor government plans for return/reconstruction

Contact: and Malcolm Suber (msuber4366@yahoo.com), Angela Winfrey  (angelawinf@aol), or Ray Eurquhart (R.Eur@verizon.net)

ORGANIZING AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATION immediate tasks:

  • Help establish offices and recruit organizers for Baton Rouge, Lake¬† Charles, Houston, Jackson, Algiers and New Orleans¬† – Locate all CLU members and allies
  • Skilled facilitators for meetings and conference calls
  • Establish website, find volunteer to maintain and update
  • Send out weekly updates of coalition work

Temporary Contact: Becky Belcore (bbelcore@hotmail.com) Website contact: Andy Allen (andylovesbikes@yahoo.com)

FUNDRAISING/FINANCE immediate tasks:

  • establish decision-making protocol on how funds will be used
  • establish budgets for both the Vanguard Fund and CLU
  • put out public call for funds for organizing specifically, and clarify how¬† people can donate to organizing and/or direct relief¬†¬† – set up accounting system, find volunteer accountant¬† Contact: John O’Neal (joneal2927@aol.com)

SUPPLIES immediate tasks:

  • create list of the best places to distribute donations of supplies
  • create list of people/organizations who can help distribute supplies and¬† sites where supplies can be warehoused¬† – coordinate supply distribution
  • designate point person to field requests for help with distribution

Contact: Ishmael Muhammad (ishmaelmuhammad@yahoo.com)  Elaine Peacock (elainepeacock@yahoo.com)

HEALTH immediate tasks:

  • assess/document medical conditions and needs
  • gather donations of medical supplies
  • build medical teams, establish free clinics

Contact: Catherine Jones (cathjones_99@yahoo.com)

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH immediate tasks:

  • independent testing of air, water and soil
  • issue report about environmental conditions for the community
  • help publicize health information to help reduce exposure to toxins

Temporary Contact: Melissa Burch (melburch@mindspring.com)

MEDIA immediate tasks:

  • determine whether or not to invite professional, progressive media¬† consultants to work with us¬† – appoint Media Coordinator who takes interview requests, helps write¬† articles, etc.¬† – designate someone to handle requests for speakers and explore the¬† possibility of speaking engagements as fundraisers¬† – finalize official public statement for the press
  • develop mechanism for updating press statement as situation develops
  • identify and train spokespersons
  • agree upon talking points
  • identify people to monitor media and collect clips and issue daily short¬† reports to the media, legal and oversight committee¬† Contact: Cassandra Burrows (casbur@hotmail.com)¬† VOLUNTEER AND SOLIDARITY COORDINATION immediate tasks:¬† – appoint volunteer coordinator(s) with cell phone willing to field calls¬† from individuals and organizations looking for ways to¬† support/volunteer‚ÄĒpublicize this number and set up email account¬† specifically for this
  • provide information to volunteers/organizations and facilitate their¬† participation in the project¬†¬† – update inventory/database of the work organizations and individuals are¬† doing with contact info, and survey folks about how others like them can¬† join in their efforts‚ÄĒsend out to whole group¬† Contact for individuals: Jean Vegas (jeanvegas_nola@yahoo.com)

Contact for organizations: Beth Simpson (elizacorps@yahoo.com)

LEGAL & CRIMINAL JUSTICE immediate tasks:

  • conduct interviews with people who were at OPP
  • explore possibilities for lawsuits
  • conduct ongoing research, create weekly reports to inform the local work
  • legal advisory role for relief fund
  • publicize DOC and OYD hotlines

Temporary Contact: Jennifer Lai (yeujeng@gmail.com)

EDUCATION

  • set up Freedom Schools and after school programs for children
  • set up adult literacy classes
  • evaluate other educational resources needed for community members

Temporary Contact: Lisa Delpit (delpitl@fiu.edu)

STORY COLLECTION

  • collect stories from displaced New Orleanians on their experiences during¬† and since the storm, as well as their ideas about what they would like to¬† see in a reconstructed New Orleans¬† – publish and otherwise make available the findings of this research for use¬† in activism and influencing reconstruction policy¬† Contact: Rachel Breunlin, Neighborhood Storybook Project ( rbreunlin@yahoo.com) POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL WORK GROUPS IF SOMEONE VOLUNTEERS TO BE CONTACT PERSON¬† COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY¬†¬† – gather reports of abuse that occurred as a result of the hurricane,¬† particularly crimes against women and children
  • develop a process by which abuse can be addressed and justice is served
  • ¬†research and provide resources for victims

FAMILY REUNIFICATION

  • visit or otherwise reach all shelters with hotlines and names of missing¬† folks
  • Reunification for people displaced with limited resources- work to demand¬† FEMA assistance in relocating families together

SOCIAL SERVICE

  • coordinate volunteers to provide FEMA assistance across the country (also¬† as means to collect names and addresses of displaced folks)
  • set up 1-800 number for evacuees to call for assistance (also helps track¬† people)
  • assess needs of local evacuees in terms of basic needs (ie housing, health¬† care, education, etc)- direct organizing work for building of the People’s¬† Committee

ARTS & CULTURE

  • develop means to emphasize that the people of New Orleans are the culture¬† of New Orleans¬† – work to support and include artists in reconstruction conversations

K. KersplebedebK. KersplebedebK. Kersplebedeb

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