« 2006: GOP Fears Accountability for Lake George | Main | VA-Gov: Kaine Closing the Gap »

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NOLA: Boots on the ground - we need more bloggers

Posted by Bob Brigham

Having a crack team of bloggers on the ground has allowed us to do more than provide coverage, it has provided real-time communication ability and scalable models.

As many of you know, we've been working with Dr. Ernest Johnson, President of the Lousiana NAACP. In addition to all of the direct aid relief, we have also been working closely with local political leaders.

The following case study is just one example of why we need you to get down to Louisiana and help the NAACP scale up efforts.

Americablog Coorespondent Kyle Shank documented how this started out.

It began with a simple idea, as old as democracy itself. That we need to organize structures of the evacuees, by the evacuees, and for the evacuees.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comDue to the team we had on ground, we were able immediately cut PSAs, shoot a video release and blast a press release:


Ernest L. Johnson, President of the Louisiana NAACP called today for Katrina evacuees in shelters to take control of their own destinies by forming SHELTER COMMITTEES.

"Each SHELTER COMMITTEE should elect a Chairperson and a Secretary and begin holding meetings, organizing, and working as a team for better treatment," Johnson said. "In unity there is strength." [...]

The Louisiana NAACP is airing public service announcements on radio stations that explain the process for bringing participatory democracy to the shelter system.

"The Louisiana NAACP is with you in solidarity," Johnson said. "The NAACP will stand with all displaced people until each and every one return to a brand-new New Orleans."

It worked

The PSA's began running and the press began calling. We began reaching out to other groups and other groups began reaching out to us. We began building a coalition and providing the tools to the evacuees to organize themselves.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThen it hit the front page (above the fold) of the Baton Rouge paper (that all of the national press read).

NAACP seeks to organize evacuees

The NAACP is trying to organize occupants of evacuation shelters so they can take some control of their lives and, for black New Orleans residents, so they can have a voice in their city's 2006 elections.

Louisiana NAACP President Ernest Johnson said he wants evacuees to pick leaders who can speak for the groups on common issues, such as, lack of supplies, getting their children educated and moving into temporary housing.

Such efforts are natural for any community and echo the efforts that founded the United States, Johnson said. Banding together is especially important for people thrown into a new environment with few resources, he said.

The head of the state's chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said he especially wants to be sure that black New Orleans residents -- a majority of shelter occupants, he said -- can return to the Crescent City, if they wish. Thousands were taken, without their input, to states as far away as Montana, Johnson said.

There are problems in the shelters and there will be problems in the camps. Some with the Red Cross, some with FEMA, some with Guard, some with the evacuees. By organizing, we can put a model in place that can deal with whatever problem comes up. The evacuees will be able to collectively negotiate and take control over their own destiny.

We Need Your Help

Organizing takes boots on the ground and we need yours.

We need organizers, activists, media specialists, bloggers and people who can document the stories of the victims so we are ready when it comes time for accountability.

We need you. And your friends. This is a General Call to Action, join us. We have tents in the lawn of the NAACP for you to have shelter, we have wifi at the command center. This is the most important civil rights battle of these times, you are needed.

Please help spread the word and come to:

Lousiana NAACP Command Center
1755 Nicholson Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA

You might go days without showing, New Orleans smells like hell and Lake George is a toxic waste dump. But when all is said and done, you will have played any important role in history. Join us. Spread the word. In solidarity, do what you can.

Posted at 11:21 AM in Louisiana, Netroots, Site News | Technorati