Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us





(Initiated by Community Labor United)


Fall, 2005*

(*Retyped for cws Legacies Reader on line

Nov. 2007)




“The people of New Orleans (and the Gulf Coast) will not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country to become homeless in countless other cities while federal relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels, chemical plants, and the wealthy white districts of New Orleans like the French Quarter and the Garden District.” 

(Founding statement of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition)





On Saturday September 8, a group of New Orleans community activists and supporters from around the country met in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to plan a people’s response to the crisis caused by, and the preexisting conditions highlighted by Hurricane Katrina.  The meeting was called by Community Labor United (CLU), a seven year-old coalition of progressive community based organizations in the New Orleans area.


The purpose of PHRF is that every displaced person be allowed to return to his or her home, participate in the reconstruction process, and call for transparency of the billions of dollars appropriated by Congress for relief and reconstruction.



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Our Town, Our Home, Our Lives

We, New Orleans and Gulf Coast Region Survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and our friends, families, supporters, in the wake of the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, call on the world community to support our demands for determining our own future.


Katrina put a spotlight on the horror of racism, poverty and environmental abuse in America.  The relief, recovery and reconstruction of our communities will show the will, the heart and soul of the people of this country.  What has happened here must also force attention to all neglected communities in this rich land.  It must never happen again.


We were abandoned by the officials whose job it is to care for the people.  We insist on playing a central role in all aspects of putting our lives back together, individually and collectively.  We, the displaced people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, can and will take charge of our own recovery and rebuilding and we demand the appropriate support from the government.


From the bottom of the flood rivers, the corners of the prison-like shelters cramming thousands of stunned human beings without information, rights, care, from the front porches and church parishes of emptied out neighborhoods, from the toxic fumes and the thirst, from the pulled apart families, the coughing, terrified children, in spite of the military and private security vehicles, from the wrench of no-home, from the horror, love and generosity of friends and strangers far and wide; the stories fill the air like seeds.  And the building begins.  We claim our stories, our healing, our future.


We insist on government accountability.  We insist on our full participation.


We offer solidarity to those around the world experiencing wreckage from natural disasters, compounded by, preceded by, poverty and discrimination.  We welcome, and are heartened by the true solidarity from all corners of this vast country and the world.





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We are committed to building and maintaining a coordinated network of community leaders, organizers and community based organizations with the capacity and organizational infrastructure to help meet the needs of people most affected by Katrina, to facilitate an organizing process that demands local, grassroots leadership in the relief, return and reconstruction process in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.


We will work together with all who share the goal of self determined relief, recovery & reconstruction.  We call on friends, allies, those working for a new New Orleans and Gulf Coast to pledge to work together in respect and shared communication for the highest level of harmony.


We call on all to engage with us in a process of imagination, discipline, accountability, possibility and building.





The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition demands that the government:


* Provide funds for all displaced families to be reunited;

* Allocate the $50 billion for reconstruction to the victims of the hurricane in the form of a Victims Compensation Fund;

* Accept representation on all boards that are making decisions on spending public dollars for relief and reconstruction;

* Place displaced workers and residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in public works jobs, offering union wages;

* Publicly account for and show the entire reconstruction process.




* Documentation of all evacuees, their whereabouts and condition;

* Meeting the healthcare needs of evacuees, both physical and emotional;

* Legal advocacy, exploration of human and civil rights abuses, wrongful deaths, and other legal issues;

* Finding teachers and educators to work with our displaced children;

* Assisting in support for all those still in shelters and those moving out of shelters, monitoring of conditions, publicizing the abuses and advocating on behalf of all evacuees;


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* Collecting the stories of displaced New Orleanians and Gulf Coast residents, articulation of the vision for the new New Orleans;

* Finding experts to test the air, water and soil in preparation for reconstruction;

* Finding engineers, architects and solar experts to advise and participate in reconstruction;

* Coordinating with artists and performers to interpret and share our stories, work with our communities in the process of ‘art as transformation’.




Arts & Culture/Story Collection


Health Care

Environmental Health


Internal Communications



National Solidarity


Safety, Justice & Accountability


Volunteer Coordination


(For more information, see archives of;















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