Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Orleans, Gulfport, and San Jose Press Conferences

RE: the December 14, 2006 Press Conference in New Orleans:

What a wonderful event we had today. The press conference was fabulous!

Representative Bill Jefferson appeared in person and voiced enthusiastic support, pledging to work with Bennie Thompson and Zoe Lofgran on the project. Governor Blanco sent one of her top executive assistants to speak in support of the program, as did the New Orleans City Council Vice President, and Senator Mary Landrieu. Marty Rowland was fantastic and really followed-up passionately in responding to questions at the end of the press conference.

. . . you will be tickled to learn All Congregations Together and PICO/LIFT are going to partner with NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center to provide host families for the college students. We will be meeting tomorrow, and Randolph Scott has agreed to serve as the NAACP New Orleans Branch liaison on this project.

Thank you again for your hard work and initiative on this project. It is so very inspiring when we find folks from across this country will to work so hard to help the gulf coast rebuild.

---Tracie L. Washington, Esq.
Director -- NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center

RE: the December 14, 2006 Press Conference in Gulf Port, MS:
The Press Conference was as big a hit with the media as it gets on the Coast!

WLOX (the ONLY TV news station on the Coast) was there, we will be on the 10 o'clock news Thursday, Dec. 14. The Sun Herald (the only paper on the Coast with "wide circulation") sent a reporter, our article will be published Friday, December 15. Ella Kliger, independent film maker and television producer was there to videotape the event for possible inclusion in a documentary.

MGCCC-IR sent Bill Snyder to take photographs of the event. Bill also assured me that smaller newspapers on the Coast will quote from our press release for their articles.

Speakers included: Brian Carriere, social studies instructor and President of the Gulfport City Council, Todd Avera, Michael Rasmussen, SHAC Treasurer, Amber Hartfield, Sean Brazil, SHAC President and Cindy Lamb Director of Development for the Interfaith Disaster Task Force, James Skinner, SHAC Historian, was there for much needed moral support and acted as official SHAC photographer.

Thanks to all the aforementioned for their hard work, bravery (the WLOX camera is a scary thing!) and dedication to SHAC and to the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project! (SHAC is Student Humanitarians for Advancement and Change)

---LeeAnn Gunn-Rasmussen,
Social Studies Instructor, Veterans' History Project

RE: the December 14, 2006 Press Conference in San Jose, CA:
Today, we had a great press conference in San Jose. There were over 100 people present. The event was covered by KGO and KCBS radio stations (the 2 top news radio shows in San Francisco/San Jose), by KNTV channel 2 (top news show at 10 am), and by the San Jose Mercury Newspaper. Check out the students' statements from our press conference. They were truly inspirational. (

As you will see from the press packet, Sally Lieber, the Pro Tempore of the California State Legislature spoke, as well as Leslie Bar-Ness, co-director of Governor Schwarzenegger's Bay Area Regional Office. Congresswoman Lofgren released a press statement in support of the idea for Louisiana Winter and the Gulf Coast Civics Work Project.

The president of San José State University, Don Kassing, reminded the students of the efforts of Tommie Smith and John Carlos (SJSU alum) who raised their fists against racism and poverty in Mexico City at the Summer Olympics in 1968, and reminded the students how they were a part of this tradition of activism at SJSU. Pastor Michael-Ray Mathews, who's father's family goes back many generations in Louisiana, encouraged the students to have love at the center of their work in the Gulf Coast. He asked them, "who do you love?, brown, white, rich, poor...who do you love?"

Thank you to all who worked so hard to make these press conferences a success. Now, let the great work begin.

---Scott Myers-Lipton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology Department Community Change Concentration San José State University


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