[News] Fundraising Appeal Letter from PHRF

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Sep 25 11:29:57 EDT 2007

Please spread far and wide!

September 24, 2007


Please share this letter with your friends, 
family and co-workers, so, like you, they will 
not forget the importance of supporting the people of New Orleans and the Gulf.

It may seem like old news, but surviving the 
reality of the government’s deliberate 
abandonment is still a daily trial for the 
200,000 low income Black New Orleanians who 
remain displaced. It is also an ordeal for the 
150,000 who have returned to New Orleans— which 
still lies mostly in ruins. In New Orleans, we 
see apartheid in action. About 20% of the City 
which has always been predominantly 
white—including the famed French Quarter—is “back 
in business”. The remaining 80% is a City without 
jobs, without housing, with no health care 
system, and with a school system that fails to meet minimum standards.

Despite the valiant efforts of thousands of 
volunteers who came to New Orleans to rebuild, 
fewer than 20,000 of the 180,000 destroyed homes 
have been rebuilt. New Orleans’ housing stock, 
levees, hospitals and schools cannot be built 
with volunteer labor.  The federal government 
must take responsibility for the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf.

For this reason, we ask you to continue to 
support the work of Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund 
(PHRF).  Our priority has always been to pressure 
the government to guarantee the right of 
return—especially for the poor Black people it 
abandoned. So far, only grassroots political 
pressure has prevented developers from razing 
public housing and bulldozing the entire Lower 
9th Ward so they can turn this once-thriving 
Black community into golf courses and industrial 
parks. For two years PHRF has  persistently 
organized petition campaigns, demonstrations, 
marches and lobbied at the City, state and 
federal levels. We organized National Survivors’ 
Tours, maintain an informative website and most 
recently, the International Tribunal on 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to counter the 
national amnesia campaign perpetrated by the government and developers.

We recognize that the displacement and 
destitution of New Orleans’ Black population is 
only the most obvious assault of a national 
system of gentrification, ethnic cleansing, 
militarization, mass incarceration and 
privatization that is laying siege to Black and 
other people of color in every US city. The 
struggle for the right to return and 
reconstruction is the challenge of all oppressed 
people. And it is going to be a long struggle.
A dedicated staff and committed volunteers are 
essential to this work. Since September 15, when 
PHRF ‘s account ran dangerously close to zero, a 
decision to stop paying all salaries was made. 
But even if staff can continue to work on a 
volunteer basis, rent, phones, electricity and 
printing costs still must be paid.

While other organizations in New Orleans do 
important work, PHRF is one of the only 
organizations that makes’ political struggle its 
priority. Our strategic focus is the demand for 
affordable housing—both for the 49,000 displaced 
residents of public housing and for New Orleans’ 
homeless population, which is at twice 
pre-Katrina levels. We also continue to pressure 
the Red Cross—a quasi-governmental agency—to be 
accountable for distributing millions of dollars 
that were donated to assist hurricane survivors, 
not the Red Cross bureaucracy.

To those of you who understand the importance of 
this struggle, we appeal for your financial 
support of our on-going work.  Please visit our 
for detailed information about this work. Tax 
deductible donations can be made payable to PHRF 
in care of the Vanguard Public Foundation. Mail 
checks to 383 Rhode Island Street, Suite 301 San 
Francisco, CA 94103. Online donations can also be 
made at 

For more information, to arrange a speaker and/or 
video presentation, call us at 504-301-0215 or 
email <mailto:info at peopleshurricane.org>info at peopleshurricane.org.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Kali Akuno,
Executive Director

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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