2005: Stephen Bradberry, New Orleans
Establishing the right to return and participate for those displaced from their homes by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
For his work on behalf of the economic and social rights of New Orleans residents and survivors of Hurricane Katrina across the Gulf Coast, Stephen Bradberry was awarded the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
As a community organizer in New Orleans, Bradberry organized low-income, displaced and returning working families to ensure their participation in the post-Katrina recovery process. Bradberry's grassroots efforts in support of the right of displaced persons to return to their city and to be treated with fairness and dignity, helped to ensure that marginalized communities in the US had a voice in the recovery process. Under his direction, grassroots networks in New Orleans ran an 18-month campaign to turn the city of New Orleans' planning process around 180 degrees -- from plans turning the Lower Ninth Ward into wetlands to being a pilot neighborhood for the rebuilding process.
Along with the RFK Center, Bradberry co-founded the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign, a partnership of Gulf Coast community, faith, student, labor and human rights organizations and their national allies advocating for federal legislation to create living wage jobs for families to return home, rebuild their neighborhoods and restore the environment in communities still struggling to recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and more recently Gustav and Ike.
In response to the BP oil drilling disaster, Stephen and the RFK Center are advocating for federal initiatives, like the ones called for by the GCCWC, that partner with affected communities, their local authorities and organizations to address what is already a grave human rights crisis affecting the health and livelihoods of thousands across the Gulf Coast.