Campaign Applauds Human Rights Based Gulf Coast Recovery Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC - May 7th - The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign, a diverse national partnership of community, environmental, faith-based, human rights and student organizations, applauds the introduction this afternoon of bipartisan legislation to rebuild more equitable and resilient communities across the areas still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act of 2009 (H.R. 2269) would create 100,000 "green" living wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and displaced people to rebuild critical infrastructure, restore natural flood protection and increase energy efficiency. This important legislation allows the federal government to partner directly with local leaders and non-profits to address remaining recovery challenges while building resilience to climate change, mitigating the effects of future deadly storms and confronting poverty. It also addresses the challenges faced by internally displaced, elderly, disabled, women, low income, immigrant and minority communities.
HR 2269 was introduced in the U.S. House yesterday afternoon by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA), Joseph Cao (LA), Charlie Melancon (LA), Gene Taylor (MS), John Conyers (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Peter Stark (CA), and Charlie Rangel (NY).
Learn more about the bill at http://gccwc.wordpress.com.
Almost four years after Hurricane Katrina, our nation's largest natural disaster, America's Gulf Coast remains a domestic human rights crisis. As we approach the 2009 Hurricane Season beginning June 1st, levees remain vulnerable, tens of thousands of people have not been able to return home, schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure remains damaged, and residents continue to struggle for access to affordable housing and living wage jobs.
"Nonprofit and community groups have been the heroic leaders of the citizen-led Gulf Coast recovery. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act will efficiently allocate funds for job creation and infrastructure development, two significant recovery needs, by avoiding layers of governmental red tape and dispersing funds directly to the entities, regardless of sector, which are ready to do the work," said Jainey Bavishi, director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of organizations working on recovery across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
"ACORN finds the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act to be a reasonable and viable pilot project not just for rebuilding the Gulf Coast from the 2005 hurricane season but for providing a community driven recovery plan for any and every part of America where natural or other disasters occur," said Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer/CEO of ACORN. "Locals should be at the forefront of recovery and rebuilding of communities following hurricanes, floods, fires, or even bridge collapses. Our infrastructure is in need of repair nationwide and ACORN believes HR 2269 provides a valuable blueprint for how that can happen."
"This legislation takes an important step towards assuring that communities that are most vulnerable to the direct effects of climate change be able to prepare for and adapt to those impacts by building resilience and reducing risk," said Rhonda Jackson, Gulf Coast Program Manager, Oxfam America. "The bill would create jobs to assist in restoring the Gulf Coast's first line of defense against hurricanes and floods by rebuilding the coastline and will employ local citizens in this important work."
"The introduction--and hopefully quick passage--of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, is important not just for the Gulf Coast but the entire nation," said Dr. Scott Myers Lipton, co-founder of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project, a student organization with members on over 30 campuses across the nation. "This legislation, with its focus on enlisting communities in their own restoration and expanding opportunity provides the Obama Administration and Congress with an effective new model for disaster recovery and infrastructure development."
"Passing HR 2269 would be a bold stand for the fundamental rights of displaced and low-income Gulf Coast residents," said Monika Kalra Varma, Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights. "The right to participate in recovery, to return home with dignity and safety, and to decent work opportunities - these are the basic human rights that we have denied survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita for too long."
Marking the beginning of the 2009 Hurricane Season, on May 30th - June 1st the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign will be bringing 400 advocates to Washington D.C. for training and meetings with members of Congress and the new Administration advocating for this critical legislation. For more information on how to participate in these events and support the legislation please visit: http://gccwc.wordpress.com.
Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign partner organizations include:
Source: Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign http://gccwc.wordpress.com
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