The news tells me this morning that most of New Orleans has evacuated the city, and that upwards of 2 million have fled the gulf coast. These numbers are staggering.
Many may not realize the difficulty that low-income people have with maintaining their households during these sorts of crisis situations. Having to evacuate means having to find a place to stay, and having to pay for the gas and the groceries along the way. It then means having to make one's way back home, hopefully to a job. For families that live paycheck to paycheck, this can be devastating.
One of the major challenges post-Hurricane Katrina has been the return of its low-income population. This is due to a combination of factors: the lack of resources that low-income people have access to, government neglect, and major social planning by the city of New Orleans that has eliminated low-income housing projects and hindered rebuilding in low-income communities of color.
Keeping in mind these factors, and this very recent history, I thought I'd pass along this appeal by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.
INCITE is an organization that I trust, and they have appealed for donations that will directly support their constituency, which is composed of low-income women of color, in New Orleans through this evacuation crisis.
August 30, 2008
Dear INCITE! friends and supporters,
On the eve of the 3 year anniversary of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and subsequent government criminal negligence and assaults on the low income people of color on the Gulf Coast, our sisters from INCITE! projects in New Orleans (including the local chapter, the Women's Health and Justice Initiative, and the New Orleans Women's Health Clinic) are bracing for the potential landfall of Hurricane Gustav, which is currently projected to hit the Louisiana coast on Monday or Tuesday at a category 4 or 5. Voluntary evacuation of New Orleans has already begun, and mandatory evacuation could be declared as early as today.
INCITE! organizers and supporters in New Orleans have made over 700 phone calls to women of color and their families that make up the constituency of the New Orleans Women's Health Clinic, working to prepare and implement evacuation and safety plans.
Your assistance is urgently needed to help low-income women of color and their families evacuate safely if need be, stay safe for the duration of the evacuation, and return to the city as soon as possible so as not to fall prey to the pushout that has kept so many folks from being able to return to New Orleans since Katrina. Local organizers are using whatever resources and funds at their disposal to help women and their families evacuate, bond people being held in Orleans Parish Prison out, and support those who make the choice to stay in whatever way they can.
Your support is urgently needed: financial donations of any size are needed and would be greatly appreciated.
Donations online are preferred because we can more quickly send the funds to our folks in New Orleans.
You can send your donation to INCITE online by clicking the button below and putting "New Orleans" in the "Purpose" line:
Or you can write a check directly to WHJI and send it to:
PO Box 51325, New Orleans, LA 70151
Your donation will go directly to supporting the hundreds of low income women of color that are the constituency of the New Orleans Women's Health Clinic.
Once again, the particular vulnerability of low-income women of color and single female-headed households (including folks with disabilities, seniors, undocumented immigrant women, and incarcerated women) has been erased in the face of disaster and overlooked in the days leading up to the storm.
Folks in New Orleans women's prisons are being evacuated to the Angola men's prison, with little thought for safety. With few resources, facing challenges and concerns for their families of their own, INCITE! New Orleans and WHJI have stepped in to fill the gap.
Please send all your support, solidarity, sisterhood and strength their way, and join us in hoping for the safety and well-being of the people who are already suffering from Gustav in Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti, and willing the storm to subside or veer off safely before it strikes the Gulf Coast.
We will keep you posted as things develop.
Monday, September 01, 2008