Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast

I received this from the Color of Change. They call it bold, but as the message points out, boldness is not a new concept.

Three years after Hurricane Katrina, there's finally a bill in Congress that will give all Katrina survivors a fair chance to rebuild their lives. But it won't become law if your representative doesn't stand up to support it.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act would hire 100,000 Gulf Coast residents and evacuees, providing them with training and jobs to rebuild their homes and communities. It started as nothing more than a good idea, but after thousands of members called on Congress to support the plan, and after years of persistent activism from students and Gulf Coast organizations, it now has a real chance of bringing some justice to the Gulf.

Even though it's come this far, it will take massive public pressure on each member of Congress to get the bill passed. If we want justice for Katrina survivors, we need to make our voices heard now as the media focuses its attention on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Please join us and call on your member of Congress to co-sponsor the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, then ask your friends and family to do the same:

It's the right thing to do

The Gulf Coast is still struggling, suffering from a lack of jobs, affordable housing, and basic infrastructure.1

For the last three years, we've seen public officials accept--whether out of hopelessness or carefully concealed joy--that post-Katrina New Orleans will be a smaller, whiter and wealthier city. We've seen politicians support plans that will push Black and poor people out of the Gulf, amplifying race and class inequalities and permanently gentrifying the area.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act represents a powerful shift from that path. The plan calls for hiring 100,000 Gulf Coast residents to rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding region. They'll be provided with temporary housing and job-training and will build and repair houses, schools, parks, and other civic buildings.2

It's been done before

The idea behind the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project is not new. During the Great Depression, the federal government believed it had a responsibility to ensure that those hit hardest did not fall through the cracks.3 It also knew that those Americans wanted a hand up, not a handout. So, in 1935, Congress created a program to hire out-of-work Americans to get things done to benefit their communities. Within 2 weeks of launching this unprecedented project, over 800,000 people were hired; within 2 months, 4.2 million were working to build bridges, roads, libraries, schools and other public facilities. If we could put 4 million people to work in just 8 weeks in 1935, why can't we immediately put 100,000 people to work rebuilding the Gulf Coast?

It's a plan that makes sense--for displaced survivors, for the communities of the Gulf Coast, for the nation as a whole. It provides an opportunity to invest in Americans while reversing the most glaring problems that plague current rebuilding plans: gentrification, government waste, and massive corporate profiteering. It would revitalize the Gulf Coast's economy while rebuilding its infrastructure, and it's a model that could be applied to solve similar problems across the country. members should be proud that we've supported this plan since long before it was a bill in Congress. Getting it introduced as a bill was a great victory and a huge step forward, but it's going to take even more public pressure to get it voted on and passed.

Please join us and call on your representative to co-sponsor the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. It only takes a minute:

And here is the rest of it.

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