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(en) US, Bring the Ruckus Responds to Katrina Crisis

Date Mon, 19 Sep 2005 22:05:01 +0300


Call for Volunteers to Help Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
In response to the Katrina crisis, Bring the Ruckus (BtR) has formed
a solidarity network with Friends and Families of Louisiana’s
Incarcerated Children (FFLIC – pronounced “flick” for short). BtR aims
to help FFLIC locate its missing leadership; regain its organizing
structure; and connect displaced people with their family member(s)
who were locked up in Louisiana prisons and jails when Katrina hit.
FFLIC is a grassroots organization comprised mostly of mothers and
grandmothers in Louisiana who have incarcerated kids. Prior to
Katrina, the work of FFLIC was focused on closing Louisiana’s
juvenile prisons and mandating that the state redirect the money
toward quality community based programs for youth. In recent
years, FFLIC, in partnership with their parent organization, the
Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), has helped reduce the
number of incarcerated children in Louisiana from 2,000 to less than
600, and together they won a huge campaign not long ago which
paved the way for significant changes in the juvenile justice system,
including the separation of the state’s juvenile system from the
Department of Corrections. There was a private juvenile prison in
Tallulah, Louisiana which FFLIC and JJPL first forced the state to
take over from the private owners, then successfully campaigned to
have closed altogether. Prior to Katrina, FFLIC was working with
the community of Tallulah to have this prison transformed into a
learning center – essentially, to turn a prison into a school.

Since Katrina, FFLIC organizers have taken on the huge task of
trying to connect displaced people to their family members – kids
and adults – who were locked up in Louisiana when Katrina hit.
Currently, the system in Louisiana is a mess – they still
don’t know where thousands of prisoners are being held. FFLIC
organizers are homeless and staying with friends and family in the
Gulf region and Atlanta while trying to piece together their
organization and figure out what needs to be done. Families
scattered across the U.S. are desperately trying to find out where
their kids and other family members are being locked up, where
everyone is, and what’s going on.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Starting immediately, Bring the Ruckus is recruiting volunteers to do
direct outreach to displaced people, both in the South and in their
local regions where evacuees are being sheltered; coordinating that
outreach with FLICC; and helping FFLIC build an online database of
family members and people locked up in Louisiana – who they
are, where they are, etc.
Direct outreach to evacuees

At the BtR website www.agitatorindex.org, there is are
downloadable PDF posters from FFLIC providing information to
displaced people on how to possibly contact their kids and other
family members who were locked up prior to Katrina. (11 x 17 pdf
poster is here, 22 x 35 pdf poster is here). If your city has an evacuee
shelter, small or large, you can help by distributing this informational
flyer, so at least people will have phone numbers to call. Optimally,
this involves getting into shelters (this could be difficult) and asking
evacuees personally if they have family members in prison in
Louisiana. Volunteers should also be ready to take down information
for FFLIC – evacuees’ names, address and phone # in
Louisiana, address and phone # now (as much as is known), any
other contact info, how long they expect to be there; as well as name
of family member in prison, where and when family member was
locked up before Katrina, if they’ve heard anything yet. In short,
FFLIC needs as much information as possible.

At the very least, try to get the shelter to post a flyer where folks can
see it. FFLIC hopes to have a poster available soon, too.

If you are able to do direct outreach to evacuees, either in your local
area or by traveling to the South, please contact BtR at
katrinacrisis@agitatorindex.org. For the time being, Bring the
Ruckus is working with others to coordinate volunteers and is acting
as a liaison to FFLIC because its organizers are swamped with work
and emails.

Please report to katrinacrisis@agitatorindex.org:
-- Progress on flyer distribution to evacuees
-- Difficulties encountered at evacuee shelters
-- Any and all information on prisoners and displaced family
members
Bring the Ruckus will compile and forward all information to FFLIC.
Financial support

Bring the Ruckus has established a Solidarity Fund to cover travel
expenses for people going to evacuee centers where FFLIC needs
personnel and to offer general financial support of FFLIC. FFLIC is
also working to create a list of needed resources and supplies; BtR
will post this information as soon as we
have it.

To donate to BtR’s Solidarity Fund, please make a check
payable to Bring the Ruckus (note Solidarity Fund on memo line)
and mail it to Bring the Ruckus-Hurricane Relief, PO Box 2252,
Amherst, MA 01004. It would be helpful to let us know by email that
a donation is en route: katrinacrisis@agitatorindex.org.

Donations made to BtR’s Solidarity Fund are not tax-deductible.
If you prefer to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can donate
to FFLIC directly. Make check payable to JJPL, write “FFLIC
Hurricane Relief Fund” in the memo field, and send to 920 Platt
Street, Sulphur, Louisiana, 70663.
Questions?

Please email questions, as well as any information regarding
Louisiana’s displaced prisoners and their families, to
katrinacrisis@agitatorindex.org.
=======================
* [Bring The Rukus is an antiauthotitarian anticapitalist
direct action revolutionary initiative.]

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