Thursday, May 07, 2009

Students Applaud Re-Introduction of Gulf Coast Civic Works Act


Contacts: Scott Myers-Lipton <>, 510-508-5382
Roberto Garcia-Ceballos <>, 408-687-9012

Students Applaud Re-Introduction of Gulf Coast Civic Works Act

The Newly Introduced Bipartisan Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 2269) Promotes Infrastructure, Training, Comprehensive Flood Protection and Energy Efficiency

WASHINGTON, DC – May 6th – The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign--which was developed and nurtured by students and faculty at campuses across the country--and now has grown into a diverse national partnership of student, community, faith-based, environmental, and human rights organizations, applauds the introduction today of bipartisan federal legislation to rebuild more equitable and resilient communities across the areas still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act of 2009 (H.R. 2269) would create 100,000 “green” living wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and displaced people to rebuild critical infrastructure, restore natural flood protection and increase energy efficiency. This important legislation allows the federal government to partner directly with local leaders and non-profits to address remaining recovery challenges while building resilience to climate change, mitigating the effects of future deadly storms and confronting poverty. It also addresses the challenges faced by internally displaced, elderly, disabled, women, low income, immigrant and minority communities.

HR 2269 was introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA), Joseph Cao (LA), Charlie Melancon (LA), Gene Taylor (MS), John Conyers (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Peter Stark (CA), and Charlie Rangel (NY).

Learn more about the bill at

“The introduction--and hopefully quick passage--of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, is important not just for the Gulf Coast but the entire nation,” said Dr. Scott Myers Lipton of San José State University and co-founder of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project. “This legislation, with its focus on enlisting communities and expanding opportunity provides the Obama Administration and Congress with an effective new model for disaster recovery and infrastructure development.”

Roberto Garcia-Ceballos, a SJSU senior Sociology major added, "Students on over 50 college campus across the nation have been advocating for almost three years for the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. Let's hope that with the new Obama Administration and Congress, the citizens of the Gulf Coast will not have to wait any longer to rebuild their schools, hospitals, and parks."

Almost four years after Hurricane Katrina, our nation’s largest natural disaster, America’s Gulf Coast remains a domestic human rights crisis. As we approach the 2009 Hurricane Season beginning June 1st, levees remains vulnerable, tens of thousands of people have not been able to return home, schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure remains damaged, and residents continue to struggle for access to affordable housing and living wage jobs.

“Nonprofit and community groups have been the heroic leaders of the citizen-led Gulf Coast recovery. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act will efficiently allocate funds for job creation and infrastructure development, two significant recovery needs, by avoiding layers of governmental red tape and dispersing funds directly to the entities, regardless of sector, which are ready to do the work,” said Jainey Bavishi, director of Equity & Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of organizations working on recovery across Alabama, Louisiana Mississippi, and Texas.

“Passing HR 2269 would be a bold stand for the fundamental rights of displaced and low-income Gulf Coast residents,” said Monika Kalra Varma, Director, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Right. “The right to participate in recovery, to return home with dignity and safety, and to decent work opportunities – these are the basic human rights that we have denied survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita for too long.”

Marking the beginning of the 2009 Hurricane Season, on May 30th - June 1st the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign will be bringing 400 advocates to Washington D.C. for training and meetings with members of Congress and the new Administration advocating for this critical legislation. For more information on how to participate in these events and support the legislation please visit:

National Contacts:

Jainey Bavishi, E&I Campaign,

Rhonda Jackson, Oxfam America,

Jeffrey Buchanan, RFK Center, buchanan@rfkmemorial.or

Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign partner organizations include:

232-HELP/Louisiana 211


ACT All Congregations Together

Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, Inc.

Alabama Arise

Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

Bay Area Women Coalition, Inc.

Bayou Grace Community Services

Biloxi NAACP

BISCO Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing

BIT Bayou Interfaith Together

CDC 58:12, inc.

Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal

Churches Supporting Churches

Clergy Strategic Alliances, LLC

Commission on Stewardship of the Environment, Louisiana Interchurch Conference

Common Ground Health Clinic

Common Ground Relief, Inc.

COPE Congregations Organizing People for Equality

Dando la Mano / Extending a Hand

Desire Street Ministries NOLA

Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)

Episcopal Network for Economic Justice

Equity and Inclusion Campaign

First Pilgrims Baptist JEDC-HDM

First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, Social Justice Team

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

FUEL Faith United for Empowerment and Leadership

Gert Town Revival Initiative, Inc.

Global Green USA

Gulf Coast Civic Works Project

Gulf Restoration Network

Holy Cross Neighborhood Association

Hope Community Development Agency

Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities Inc.

Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies

Interfaith Alliance

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

JustFaith Ministries

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Louisiana Conference of The UMC Disaster Reponses, Inc

Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development

Maria Iñamagua Campaign for Justice

May Day New Orleans

Mennonite Central Committee-New Orleans

MICAH Project

Minnesota Tenants Union

Minnesota-New Orleans Solidarity Committee

Mississippi Center for Justice

Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance

Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative

Moore Community House

MPOWER Mississippi Poultry Workers for Equality and Respect

MQVN Community Development Corporation

National Council of Churches

National Council of Jewish Women

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

National Employment Law Project

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

National Lawyers Guild - Minnesota Chapter

National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness (NPACH)

NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

New Orleans East Cooperative Parish

New Orleans Institute

New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative

New Voices, Academy for Educational Development

Northside Neighbors for Justice

Oak Park Civic Association

Ouachita Riverkeeper

Oxfam America

Pax Christi USA

PICO Louisiana

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office

Providence Community Housing

Puentes New Orleans, Inc.

Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation

Retired Senior Volunteer Program

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference

Sierra Club, Delta Chapter

Soria City Civic Organization

Special Commission on the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, National Council of Churches

Squandered Heritage

St. Bernard Project

STEPS Coalition

Student Hurricane Network

Survivors Village New Orleans

Terrebonne Readiness & Assistance Coalition – TRAC

Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, (t.e.j.a.s.)

The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Office of Disaster Response

The Latino Leadership Circle

The Presbytery of South Louisiana Recovery

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Turkey Creek Community Initiatives

Union of Black Episcopalians

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

United Hearts Community Action Agency, Inc.

Universalist Unitarian Service Committee

Women In Construction, Moore Community House

Workers Emergency Relief Campaign

Youth Inspirational Connection, Inc.

Youthanasia Foundation


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