Louisiana Floods: in their own words, stories and how to help : Indybay
Want to help victims of the flooding in Louisiana?
- Visit Helping and Getting Help from Equality Louisiana http://equalityla.org/helping-getting-help-flood/
- To donate supplies in New Orleans: The Lower 9th Ward Living Museum at 1235 Deslonde St. is a drop-off point for supplies: food, clothing, bedding, pet supplies, school supplies, personal hygiene products, anything you can donate. Museum staff will be running regular trips to Baton Rouge.
- To send supplies: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, 999 N. 9th Street, Apartment 519, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
- To make a contribution: Please click on this link (http://mannafoodfromheaven.org/manna/)
- To volunteer: Contact their hotline (512) 750-4812.
From Elizabeth Gelvin:
For my out-of-state folks & folks in unaffected in-state areas, ways you can serve the Louisiana flood survivors without physically being there:
1. DONATE to local relief organizations. Rather than donating to big name organizations with enormous operating budgets like Red Cross, donate to folks from these communities, serving their communities. Some suggestions:
Of course, do your homework before you donate. Make sure the organization you choose pumps the majority of their budget towards actual service, programming, etc, not advertising, salaries, & bureaucracy. Consider how the organization you’re donating to treats folks of color, folks with disabilities, folks with addictions, etc. etc. etc.
If you’re set on sending supplies rather than donating money, consider what type of supplies are in high demand and are unlikely to be provided or will be used up quickly. Tampons, pads, and adult diapers are supplies to consider.
2. ORGANIZE with your classrooms, workplaces, churches, clubs, etc. to fundraise. Personal donations are good, but nothing’s weaker than the power of one. Work together. Ask local restaurants, bars, stores, etc. to have pledge nights/sales. Have a garage sale. Host a house show. Sell your mediocre art.
Focus on fundraising, not on service work. The funds that your organizations would spend on travel & accommodations could be offered directly to community organizations on the ground already doing the work. Money talks. Start shouting.
3. ENGAGE your friends, families, coworkers, and communities in dialogue about Louisiana. Be diligent, borderline-aggressive about dialogue. Don’t let a day go by without “Louisiana” falling from your lips. Make sure everyone in your circles knows what’s going on right now. Print out news articles and post them up in the common spaces in your offices, universities, gathering places. Make sure everyone you interact with knows what’s going on. Freak people out by how much you want to talk about this. Make them nervous. Make them read.
4. WRITE to your local news outlets. Demand comprehensive, consistent coverage of the Louisiana flooding and recovery process.
If you are a journalist, blogger, poet, write about it in your mediums and share with your communities as well. Demand good media, make good media, and share, share, share.
5. LIFT voices of survivors. Don’t repost violent, racist, dehumanizing news articles about “looting.” Don’t repost disaster porn. Don’t repost half-assed, sunshine-glossy resilience narratives. Stop marveling, slack-jawed, at the “enduring strength” of Louisiana folks. Get real about what’s going on. Get real about the forces that rendered Louisiana this vulnerable to begin with. Repost content that holds the forces-that-be accountable and treats survivors with dignity.
6. EDUCATE yourself on climate change. On coastal erosion, on the oil & gas industry, on fracking, Do your homework. Understand these floods in context. Understand that climate disasters such as these affect vulnerable communities – communities of color, poor communities – first, most frequently, and most violently. I’m not going to do your homework for you here, but learn about environmental racism. Learn about disaster capitalism. Forget the word “natural” when talking about climate disasters. If you want to serve the survivors of this flood, and preemptively serve the survivors of the next dozen, hundred, thousand climate disasters (in Louisiana and elsewhere) you simply cannot consider this disaster in isolation.
Once you’ve worked on your education, join the fight. Get vocal about environmental destruction in and around your own community. The fight for environmental justice is not a hippy-dippy fringe issue. The fight for environmental justice is a fight for racial and economic justice. Hold your elected officials accountable. Fight tooth-and-nail for the world you’re gonna raise your children in. Dedicate yourself to learning more and pushing yourself and your beliefs more every day. Get real and reckon with your personal responsibility in the fight against climate change.
7. TREAT survivors with dignity. Once the waters recede, do not participate in disaster tourism. Don’t drive around strangers’ neighborhoods, gawking at the destruction of their lives. Survivors and their lives are not here for your entertainment or to facilitate “emotional,” “humbling,” or “life-changing” experiences for you and yours.
8. BE GENTLE with your Louisiana loved ones. Do check-ins – not just one early on, but regularly. This is trauma. They will grieve. It may not happen now, or all-at-once, but this is deeply traumatizing, and there will be grief and fear and pain. Recognize that many folks who lost their homes in these floods also suffered during Hurricane Katrina. Or Hurricane Betsy. Or Camille, or Gustav, or Isaac, or Rita, or Wilma. Or the BP Oil Spill, or by water and air poisoned by petrochemical refineries. Recognize that for so many folks who suffered during these floods, loss by water is part of the language you’re raised with. In south Louisiana, you grow up with an evacuation plan. You know you’re heading to your grandma’s in Texas or some family friend’s place in North Louisiana when disaster strikes. Or you grow up knowing that you don’t have access to an evacuation plan, and if and when disaster strikes, it strikes a family without mobility, without options. Be especially gentle and loving with your Louisiana folks that are suffering trauma in light of the recent murder of Alton Sterling, and then now are suffering through this. Raise up your Louisiana loved ones, your Gulf Coast loved ones, your loved ones that have suffered immensely and will continue to suffer from climate disasters. Feeling a brief pang of empathy and then moving on with your life is not an option. Raise up your Louisiana loved ones and begin fighting against the next climate disaster.
§1 min Public Service Announcement on Looting from Elizabeth Gelvin
by WTUL News & Views Monday Aug 22nd, 2016 6:08 AMListen now:Copy the code below to embed this audio into a web page:
(942.3kb)White folks in EBR: If your Black friends, family, or neighbors need anything during curfew hours, please offer to step-and-fetch for them or go with them. And if you go out tonight past curfew, please keep your phones charged and handy – don’t hesitate to film any and all police interactions you witness.
The risk of police brutality is so, so heightened in post-disaster spaces. Public spaces are already unsafe for people of color in Louisiana – add high tensions, fear-mongering language about “looting,” essentially an all-clear signal to the police, and violent white folk with guns feeling justified in “protecting their property”
Also, please refrain from reposting fear-mongering pieces about “looters” in EBR, Livingston Parish, and the like. We know what it’s code for. We know how that language operates. Call out racist fear-mongering. Don’t contribute to the dehumanization of survivors of color.
From November 30 to December 4, the internationally renowned Mivos Quartet will be engaged in a