Katrina Survivors Take Government to Court

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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Get a pant load of this....:badgrin:

    By: Linda Hobbs
    POSTED: 10:13 EST, July 18, 2007

    It's been two years since Hurricane Katrina and Rita ripped through the belly of the South, and survivors, along with various scholars and activists, are seeking to hold the US government responsible in a tribunal court hearing scheduled for this August.

    On Tuesday (July 17), New York City Councilman Charles Barron and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney met at Manhattan's Center for Constitutional Rights for a press conference to discuss the upcoming trial. The tribunal will target President Bush, the US government, State of Louisiana, State of Mississippi, and various other agencies who were involved in the Katrina and Rita relief efforts.

    The Tribunal will include a team of human and civil rights prosecutors, including Joan Gibbs from the Center of Law & Social Justice and Kali Akuno, from the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund.

    Overall, the Tribunal's main goal is holding the US government accountable for their reaction to the 2005 storms.

    "Some people are being held accountable," said Former Congresswoman McKinney. "But what about [US Secretary of Homeland Security] Michael Chertoff? I'm wondering why he still has a job!"

    Councilman Barron believes potential Democratic leaders have not raised the issue enough. "We can't let Barack Obama and Hillary, and all these so-called Democrats, whisper about what happened with Katrina," he said. "America needs a revolution."

    "I'm a survivor," said Viola Washington, in a thick New Orleans drawl. "I was there. We had racism, and a whole lot of -isms before the storm, but it don't excuse what happened during the storm. We had helicopters flying over the city and nobody came to help us. We were begging for help."

    Like Washington, other survivors will give their testimonies during the hearing, detailing abusive and humiliating treatment during delayed relief efforts.

    "They put me in a wilderness, in a place I never heard of in my life," another, graying survivor added.

    When Katrina hit, that woman was raising her three grandchildren, after her daughter was murdered. "They [National Guard] were putting guns on you just to ask a question. This is America! It took us from Tuesday to Friday to get out of there," she said.

    At the time, the woman owned her home. Her biggest concerned after the storm was returning to it. "But FEMA told me I was supposed to get back to my home or I'll lose my assistance," she said. "What am I supposed to do with three children?"

    In addition to survivor testimonies, foreign nations have lent their support to the International Tribunal effort, including Cuba, Mexico, France, and Brazil.

    The Mexican government released the following statement: "The Katrina disaster was a disaster organized by a political and economic system rooted in racism, exploitation and oppression. The massive deaths and human suffering could have been avoided were it not for the racism of the U.S. government at all levels."
    The hearing will be held August 29 in New Orleans, marking the two-year anniversary of the hurricane tragedy.
    http://www.vibe.com/news/news_headlines/2007/07/katrina_government/
     

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