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Community Labor United

SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
1:16 PM

CONTACT: Community Labor United
Malcolm Suber: (504) 931-7614,
Megan Finn: (860) 484-4062, (202) 538-3466
CLU/People’s Fund Raises $150,000 For Relief;
Plans South Carolina Grassroots Aid Conference;
Sends Delegation to DC Anti-War Protest

WASHINGTON - September 23 - In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Community Labor United (CLU), a coalition of over 40 grassroots organizations working for justice and an end to the exploitation of oppressed peoples in New Orleans, has established the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition with the major goals of meeting the needs of those impacted by Katrina and insuring that there is local, grass-roots leadership in the relief, return and reconstruction process in New Orleans.

“We need to really put pressure on local and national government to begin the process of bringing people home,” stated Malcolm Suber, a long-time member of CLU and still working in the New Orleans area. “Tens of thousands of workers are being imported when there are tens of thousands of New Orleanians who can do the work of the clean up. We need a seat at the table and to demand that people from New Orleans be given jobs so they can begin the process of returning home.”

People’s Hurricane Relief Fund Raises $150,000

The People’s Hurricane Fund was established with the focus of guaranteeing local relief and control of money raised for hurricane relief. With the help of organizations such as the Vanguard Foundation and True Majority, the People’s Hurricane Fund has already amassed over $150,000.

Muhammad and Rahim to Speak at DC Anti-War Protest

Curtis Muhammad of Community Labor United, and Malik Rahim, who helped open the Common Ground Relief Center and Health Clinic in Algiers, New Orleans, will speak at the massive national anti war rally Saturday in the nation’s capitol. According to Mr. Muhammad, “We have to be here. Martin Luther King, Jr. built a poor people’s movement while denouncing the war in Vietnam. We need to stop both wars: the war in Iraq which is killing our soldiers, depleting our resources and devastating another country, and the war against poor people and people of color here at home. Never has this been more clear.”

CLU/People’s Fund Plans Meeting in South Carolina

The following weekend, from Friday September 30, 2005 through Sunday October 2, evacuees and CLU supporters from throughout the country will meet at a weekend-long planning meeting at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, to develop immediate and long term plans for supporting the determination of evacuees to oversee their own relief, recovery and reconstruction, including the critical question of family reunification.

According to CLU representative Malcolm Suber, Executive Director of the after school program Urban Heart, “The weekend retreat presents an opportunity for activists from New Orleans and around the country who are concerned about a people’s response to the crisis created by current and continued government inaction in relation to Katrina. We are especially concerned about the right of the people who have been scattered throughout the country, who are very poor with no resources, to return to their homes and reunite with their families. We will pressure FEMA to transport them back home or to where there families are.”

The coalition has also maintained a constant presence in the New Orleans area since Katrina struck on August 29th. Members of the coalition have established a local office and collection point for the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund at long-time New Orleans resident Mama Dee’s house, located at1733 N. Doregenois in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. Other members have helped to set up the Common Ground Relief Center, located across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, in order to provide free medical care and supplies to those who are in need.

Community Labor United (CLU), a coalition of over 40 community and labor organizations based in New Orleans, is working to build and maintain a coordinated network of community leaders, organizers and community based organizations with the capacity and organizational infrastructure to help meet the needs of people most impacted by Katrina, and facilitate an organizing process that will demand local, grassroots leadership in the relief, return and reconstruction process in New Orleans.


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