Brooklyn, NY B September 10, 2005 C In the face of death, destruction and despair produced by Hurricane Katrina, a group of local community members in New York City launched an independent relief effort to fill the void the government and other organizations like the Red Cross have left empty.
The Grassroots Movement Relief Effort (GMRE), which members are calling the new aid initiative, offers support to the African-and-Latino American community in parts of rural Mississippi that have been disregarded by state and federal officials.
Hearing that people were living without food and shelter for the past week, Dasaw Floyd, a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) B the sponsoring organization, said that this undertaking was necessary to show that people from communities of color could respond to this catastrophe where others have failed to do so. MXGM has local chapters in Jackson, Mississippi; Selma and Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia and Oakland, California, where other members are working together to support the relief initiative.
ABefore all of this, our communities were told to fear terrorism, but to neglect and abandon people is just as inhumane as terrorism, if not worse. For us not to take the lead in utilizing our own resources would be callous and irresponsible,@ said Floyd. The Bush Administration has been increasingly criticized and accused of racism for the poor response that has left so many poor African-and-Latino Americans trapped, hungry and living among ruin and death.
AAmericans are appalled at the government=s decision to drag its feet in the face of death, sickness and famine. Even Mayor Bloomberg has said the federal government=s response was inadequate. So we are asking the community to stand up against this inhumanity and take action by contributing to this and other efforts. We just want to meet our people=s increasing needs and stem the tide of genocide in the South,@ said attorney and activist Karl Franklin. Since putting out a call to their community and friends, GMRE volunteers said that the response has been overwhelming. AIt gives people the sense that they are contributing more than money when they see their neighbors working to help during a time of crisis.@
The GMRE has also united with the Southern Relief Fund to ensure that the broadest community is reached. AAt the end of this week, and over the next month, we will be sending supplies down to serve those communities who the US government agencies and other international bodies left to fend for themselves,@ said Floyd.