Today is International Human Rights Day, the fifth International Human Rights Day since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. After four years, four regional disasters (Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike) and a new President, the United States government still has not taken the necessary steps to ensure the human rights of the survivors of our nation’s disasters.
As we look across the Gulf Coast we still see:
- Tens of thousands of Katrina survivors unable to realize their right to return home.
- Families living in toxic FEMA trailers struggling to find resources to rebuild their homes.
- Over 2 million residents of coastal Louisiana increasingly vulnerable to future disasters and internal displacement due to coastal land loss and climate change.
- Homelessness and rental housing costs rising while affordable housing projects grind to a halt with the crash of financial markets;
- Communities still without vital medical facilities.
- Many more survivors who can’t find work at a living wage or training to finance their families’ recovery and find their way out of poverty.
But we have a chance to let the Obama Administration know that such injustices must not continue in the United States of America.
President Barack Obama launched an effort to reconsider how our country should respond to natural and man-made disasters. The President has tasked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a Long Term Disaster Recovery Working Group. But that working group hasn’t included many grassroots leaders representing low income, minority, and immigrant communities-the most vulnerable victims of the storms-in its early consultations.
A growing movement of Katrina survivors, local elected officials and community, faith-based, and human rights organizations is continuing to push the Administration and Congress to stand up for human rights and enact innovative policies to equitably restore Gulf Coast communities. But we need your help.
President Obama pledged to fix what the Bush Administration left undone after Katrina. But we need to help him make good on his promise. The Working Group is only accepting public comment until December 15th, so take action today!
Your Friends with the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign