Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Black Women's Roundtable Plans Katrina Anniversary Events

The following is from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s women’s initiative, Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), which is planning a series of its own events in N.O. this coming week to commemorate the anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The group is also working in a broader coalition of organizations to promote a National Day of Presence on August 29, to call attention to the ongoing needs of the Gulf region 2 years after the storm.

The group has published a scheduled activities during the Second Anniversary of Katrina-Rita National Call to Action from August 27-29, 2007, and updated details may be posted there. We have additionally compiled their list events and actions with an extended schedule of Katrina events through September 1 on the blog of our sister site,

On the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina the National Coalition on Black Civic articipation’s women’s initiative, Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), hosted a Gulf Coast Hear Me Now Listening Sessions Bus Tour of regions hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The seven-city tour set out to learn how women directly impacted by the storms were surviving one year after enduring the life-altering affects of Katrina and Rita. The tour revealed that the storms exacerbated the already fragile social and economic existence of many African American women in the Gulf Coast region in three of the most economically depressed states in the nation—Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

After listening to our sister’s voices about their experiences in the rebuilding process, the barriers they encountered and how they were affected by this natural disaster, the National Coalition was able to identify the most pressing issues thwarting recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region----affordable housing, education, and mental/physical health topped the list.

As we approach the second anniversary of the worst storm in America’s history, sluggish rebuilding efforts have increased despair, frustration, and stress among people already emotionally traumatized. The never-ending struggle to secure a sense of dignity and stability has aggravated the severe mental stress and physical health problems survivors of these storms are facing on a daily basis in rural and urban communities in the Gulf Coast and all across the country where displaced survivors are attempting to rebuild their lives.

In 2006 the women of Black Women’s Roundtable heard the voices of our beloved sisters in the Gulf Coast. Further, to build upon what we learned from our Gulf Coast recovery & rebuilding work and from the women of the gulf coast over the past year, NCBCP will utilize the Black Women’s Roundtable Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Initiative to assist the women of the Gulf with their civic engagement and provide vehicles for their voices to be heard by policy and opinion makers across the country.

NCBCP will incorporate the mission of BWR – to promote healthy families – as we return to New Orleans to commemorate the second anniversary of Katrina through our 2007 BWR Celebrate Our Sisters of the Gulf Coast Wellness Journey. The journey will include a full day focused on health and wellness through exercise, volunteerism, pampering, dialogue, entertainment, spiritual upliftment, recognition, and information gathering. NCBCP will host a regional organizing briefing and conduct a scientific survey/poll of survivors to evaluate their recovery/rebuilding experiences over the past year, document their stories of success and the barriers Katrina-Rita survivors continue to encounter as well as stand in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast for a national call to action on August 27-29, 2007 in New Orleans, LA.

The tentative schedule of events is here.