imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Katrina five year anniversary; revisiting the good work of Rainbows and friends

by Rainbow press crew Saturday, Sep. 04, 2010 at 7:17 PM

This press release is from a year ago, the hurricane hit five years ago...and the Gulf Coast still needs help

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Website: www.rpcnews.us

Email: rpcrew1 at gmail.com

NEW MEXICO HOSTS WHITE HOUSE GUESTS

Santa Fe National Forest, NM (July 31, 2009) - When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, a grassroots emergency relief effort was born out of dedicated volunteers with years of experience working at outdoor kitchens and medical stations at Rainbow gatherings. Their prompt mobilization to the Gulf Coast fully equipped with supplies, know-how and ingenuity tremendously helped victims survive and recover from one of America’s most epic disasters. Their accomplishments were recognized all the way to the highest level of government, the Bush administration’s White House. In May 2008, these intrepid volunteers accepted an invitation and attended a function in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building within the White House complex, where they were thanked for their work. Some of these same volunteers are currently enjoying their visit to this year’s Rainbow Gathering being held in New Mexico’s magnificent Santa Fe National Forest, now in its final phase of “clean-up.”

In late August 2005 when these skilled Rainbow gatherers saw people literally dying on television after the hurricane hit and no one was helping them, they sprung into action. Familiar with surviving quite well for extended time periods with no running water or electricity in the woods, they first headed to Waveland, MS – where there had been a 32-foot storm surge – and set up a huge relief center in the parking lot of Fred’s Department Store across the street from the Waveland Police Department. From there more Rainbow volunteers branched out to New Orleans and quickly built another center in Washington Park that ran simultaneously with the one in Waveland.

At both locations free kitchens, medical clinics and supply distribution areas operated without skipping a beat. Each center adhered to the their own strict sanitation specifications, thereby meeting the approval of their local Departments of Health. They treated hundreds of patients and pumped out thousands of meals a day, sometimes in 100 degree temperatures. The relief center in Waveland became the New Waveland Cafe, also known as the New Waveland Cafe and Clinic, and the center in New Orleans became the Welcome Home Cafe. Both cafes had makeshift stages so moods were uplifted with frequent live music in the air.

The New Waveland Cafe provided a children’s art space and even professional dance lessons. One of the first things the Welcome Home Cafe workers did upon their arrival was to clear the park’s playground of debris such as giant fallen trees. Children laughed and played in this newly safe, fun space provided just for them amidst the surrounding devastation that no child should ever see. This cafe was alive with activity. The New Orleans Jazz Vipers often performed there, volunteers ran an herbal tea stand, musician Ani DiFranco stopped by and visited and one day a drum corp marched through the park.

The storm victims were everyday Americans not used to receiving charity. They were so thankful and touched by the manner in which they were helped that they wanted to become part of the relief effort and began to pitch in at the cafes. They were transformed from helped to helpers, from victims to survivors. Their help was welcomed and appreciated.

The Rainbow volunteers also coordinated with numerous groups in their relief work including the Bastrop Christian Outreach Center, Organic Valley farms (the owner’s son was part of the New Waveland Cafe’s initial crew), the Common Ground Collective, Seeds of Peace, Barefoot Doctor’s Academy, Food Not Bombs, the local Teamsters Union and the Missouri National Guard. In addition, Rainbow volunteers set up two more relief efforts called Emergency Communities and the Rainbow Emergency Management Assembly.

Where were the governmental and mainstream relief agencies in all this? They were doing all they could, but it was obvious from day one that it wasn’t enough. Jenka Soderberg is a freelance journalist and occasional Free Speech Radio News reporter who traveled to New Orleans post-Katrina. She explained that all of the shelters within three hours of New Orleans were either shut down or full. Only one FEMA center was open to the public. Blackwater Security forces staffing the center outnumbered the FEMA workers about 5 to 1. The remaining FEMA centers were solely for their workers and contractors. Each of these centers displayed a sign that read “No public services available at this site / Authorized personnel only.”

Volunteers from the Red Cross constantly defected and joined the ranks of the grassroots led efforts. http://photos1.blogger.com/photoInclude/blogger/566/1507/1600/Tent%20Raising%202.jpg

“In an April interview with NPR, acting Red Cross Director Jack McGuire admitted the organization had made major mistakes after Katrina, including not reaching out to community groups that were doing some of the best work in the area. The organization promises to implement a ‘cultural shift’ that includes working more closely with grassroots organizations, a tack the institution has historically shied away from. Kay Wilkins, CEO of Red Cross’ Southeast Louisiana chapter, called Katrina ‘the great equalizer’ of relief organizations.” - Reason Magazine, Dec 2006.

Some governmental agencies harassed the cafes, saying they didn’t have “permission” to be there. Nonetheless, individuals from various law enforcement agencies would occasionally lend a hand in the kitchen. A Mississippi state trooper in full uniform was spotted chopping celery. One volunteer said that various other “mutiny magic manifested.” Soderberg noted, “We’ve had National Guard soldiers sneak supplies out of their warehouses so we could distribute them directly to people, we’ve had Amtrak police sneak ice for our clinic from their stash….so many many examples of people trying to get supplies to the people who need them — even if they have to defy orders from above in order to do it.”

FEMA and the Red Cross continuously struggled to provide adequate aid to the desperate storm victims. Soderberg revealed that these agencies reached a point in which they began “turning people away, sending them to our tiny organization, common ground, for help. Let me repeat this, because I just find it so astounding: FEMA AND THE RED CROSS ARE SENDING PEOPLE TO _US_ (Common Ground) FOR HELP.” - Jenka’s Journal, Nov 2, 2005.

The cafes’ operations reached their peak on the first Thanksgiving after the hurricane when the Welcome Home Cafe shared a huge feast and the New Waveland Cafe held a parade for the town. A film entitled, “Rainbow Family & Christians Unite to Give Hope after Katrina” captured a parade watcher’s heartfelt reaction: “All of these beautiful people from the Waveland Cafe and what they’ve given to us, we can never repay (tears up, happy tears). I know that Hancock County could not have made it without what they have done. And to give us this parade! (more joyous tears welling up)”. When asked if she’d ever had a parade like this before she rejoiced, “No and I think they’re fabulous! They’re the most beautiful people that there are!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3tT5F9ECpA

Out of the success of the Rainbow volunteers’ achievements, two well respected organizations were born and remain in operation to date. The Community Center of Saint Bernard is in New Orleans’ Saint Bernard Parish and assists survivors daily. http://www.ccstb.org/ The American Rainbow Rapid Response (ARRR) based in Asheville, NC transports, builds and runs mobile kitchens in newly disaster-ridden locations. http://americanrainbowrapidresponse.org/ In the years since Katrina, ARRR has provided aid to residents of such catastrophe-stricken areas as Houma, Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav, and to Wisconsin during their floods. It is set up with two kitchens to provide 15,000 or more nutritious, mostly organic meals a day and is ready to help out wherever the next natural disaster hits.

Gratitude graced these volunteers with amazing rewards. A volunteer named BW felt most appreciated when a high-ranking Waveland police officer thanked the Rainbow workers and gave them an open-ended invitation to return, saying that they were “welcome back any time.” This type of sincere recognition presented itself at all levels of authority.

Aaron Funk is an Arthur Murray dance instructor who has volunteered with the New Waveland Cafe and ARRR since their inceptions. In May 2008 the news came that the Bush administration was aware of their accomplishments when he received an official email from the White House office. It was an invitation that was sent to 100 faith based and community efforts. The beginning of it read: “Jay Hein, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, invites you to attend the White House Compassion in Action Roundtable, ‘Partnerships in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Building Resilient Communities.’” Funk thought it was a hoax and did not reply.

Funk received a personal email a week later from a “secretary of an Assistant to the President” with the same invitation. Funk called the White House and reached Evette, one of the President’s secretaries. He asked, “Are you sure you want US to be there?” Surprisingly she answered, and with immediacy. “Yes. Listen. We know that we are in an ivory tower. YOU guys are the man on the street and we NEED your input. You are the common man and we need to be in touch with that. Please come.” Funk accepted the invitation and Evette arranged for Funk to bring a friend, fellow volunteer Matthew Atwood.

By the month’s end Funk and Atwood found themselves inside the White House complex as part of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. A writeup by ARRR entitled “ARRR Responds to the White House” notes, “The entrance of the Deputy (Secretary Michael Chertoff, U.S. Department of Homeland Security) was something right out of a novel, rushed in from a side door, hurried and urgent. However, when he spoke, it was with calm assuring. Again with comments of praise and encouragement for the efforts of all in attendance.”

Funk reflected on the Rainbow volunteers’ work at the New Waveland Cafe. “It worked so well because we took a 100% neutral, positive and COOPERATIVE attitude towards every individual, organization or governmental official. We didn’t bring any political or religious agendas into the cafe.”

Volunteers for this year’s Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico made numerous attempts to cooperate with authorities; the latter had the power to take the higher ground and reciprocate with the same dignified behavior that Rainbow volunteers exhibit. Instead they chose to harass the peaceful attendees whose one united purpose in gathering is to pray for world peace. The gatherers still had a good time and considered the event a success.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) overestimated the Gathering population once again, attempting to make the event out to be a problem that needed to be dealt with. They frequently name the Rainbow gathering an “incident” in their documents. New Mexico news station KOAT-ABC took the bait for their first newscast on the coming Gathering. They reported it as a “potential threat” and “invasion,” and pictured these printed words zooming out from a document and magnifying them to fill viewers’ TV screens. The local residents’ initial “fears of the unknown” were squelched once they became familiar with the consistent kindness of Rainbow attendees visiting their region.

USFS officers drove over the water pipe at the start of the Gathering, causing interruption of water flow to camp. They said it was an accident. Near-daily checkpoints into and out of the Gathering were annoying, caused traffic backups and were illegal. http://www.drugpolicycases.com/opinions/opinion8.html The last roadblock was reported to have been on July 5th. Hundreds of early gatherers were ticketed mostly for minor traffic offenses like “dirty license plates.” They were ordered to make 240-mile round trips from the Gathering to court, and if they did not show up, federal warrants for “failure to appear” were issued for their arrest.

Some gatherers believed that the early-on heavy handed tactics of the USFS’s Incident Command Team officers within the Gathering were decreased by the arrival of US Marshals. However, US Marshals soon began arresting attendees with “failure to appear” warrants and removing them from the Gathering. They were then transported to Sandoval County Jail about 85 miles from the Gathering. There, gatherers arrested for offenses like “not wearing a seatbelt in the backseat of a car” typically spent 3-5 days in custody and were then released.

Rainbow gatherings differ from festivals largely because they have always been held in the woods. Volunteers work painstakingly to ensure that all motorized vehicles are kept at least a mile away from camp so the event has a safe and secure back-to-nature feel. It was reported that on July 3rd two USFS law enforcement SUVs blatantly and provocatively drove into the Gathering, parked in the lower meadow where they were visible to many people including those in several kitchens and camps in the meadow’s tree line. They were met by US Marshals and the local sheriff’s department who proceeded to just stand around. Witnesses gathered to keep an eye on things, since officers have a pattern of attempting to provoke gatherers, particularly on July 3rd. They were looking for a girl with a toy gun. The girl was found, the toy was not and they left.

Regardless, the Gathering forged ahead. It was a sight to be seen amongst the birches and pines. Recently at long-time Christian Rainbow kitchen Bread of Life, several of its crew have gotten married and have had children. This year at this child-friendly camp, they constructed a kiddie playground paradise featuring a merry-go-round that rotated atop a tree stump; monkey bars; a teeter totter and a screened-in arts and crafts area. Kid Village held their traditional fun Rock-n-Roll Spaghetti dinner on July 4th and New York’s Purple Gang kitchen had their always fabulous brunch on July 5th.

Now that the Gathering is over, clean-up has begun. A crew of Rainbow volunteers has stayed and is working to revitalize the land and “leave no trace” behind. One volunteer reports that daily rainstorms have soaked the earth; there is already green ground cover in all the high-use areas. Plants are growing back abundantly and are all native to that forest. The job is nearing completion. Rainbow gatherers are known to leave the woods they temporarily inhabit in better condition than it was in when they arrived; this has been so since the gathering’s inception in 1972.

Some Rainbow volunteers on this year’s clean-up crew in New Mexico were also part of the initial post-Katrina humanitarian response that operated with a mixture of ingredients – diligence, compassion, style, ease and most of all, love – all in the midst of the hurricane’s immense aftermath. These actions made history and earned Rainbow gatherers a trip inside the White House complex, a milestone that will be remembered forever.

Media advisory for getting to and around camp: Have all paperwork and be sure vehicles are in good repair. Have nothing on the dashboard or hanging from the rearview mirror. Keep windshields and license plates clean, especially when driving on unpaved roads. Obey all traffic laws, watch for stop signs, and use turn signals, especially at all unpaved intersections. Many gatherers love interacting with the media and will gladly be filmed. But in respect for people’s freedom of religious expression, it is requested that anyone taking photographs or film images ask permission from each individual to be included in the shot.

Directions to the Gathering (from Cuba, NM): Take State Road 126 east for 13 + miles to FS Road 103 on left, go 2 miles to FS Road 69 on left then drive 9 miles to where FS Road 69 meets FS Road 70.

For more information:

Notes in parentheses are snippets of video titles and are good search words for finding them online. Quotations help

2009 New Mexico Gathering footage:

Post-Katrina volunteer Heather Bee discusses New Waveland Cafe (“Cook Tells of Helping”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfK12XaIv6w&feature=channel_page

Heather Bee explains Rainbow gathering clean-up procedures

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S1021478.shtml

Clean-up crew at work (“2009 Rainbow Recycle”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxqXr55PYUg

USFS clean-up report from 1995 New Mexico Gathering

http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/sites/nm95/fs/951103.nm.cleanup.htm

Unedited footage of USFS attempt to incite riot, July 3, 2007 at Arkansas Rainbow Gathering where five USFS law enforcement SUVs drove into main meadow, parked in river that ran through it, blared their sirens and arrested a female gatherer who had “failure to appear” warrant. Part one (from Soaring Eagle’s MySpace page) long version plays audio only; video peculiarly missing as of July 2008

Part One, short version http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=355688&blogId=420287639

Part One, long version http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=12590276

Part Two (“Arrested. Call for Peace”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvvcwcHkYQA&feature=related

Part Three (“Officer Looses Temper”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6bX-36Fbc&feature=related

Part Four (“Police After Call for Peace”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uklob4ooh1w&feature=related

Unedited footage of police riot at Kid Village, July 3, 2008 at Wyoming Rainbow Gathering where unprovoked USFS police opened fire on the camp using pepper spray rifles and aiming projectile tasers. Both children and adults were traumatized. Attack left permanent scar on the agency’s reputation (“Rainbow Family / Police Incident 2008″)

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=p5aed3FHiNc&feature=related

Evidential hearing transcript; top officer Gene Smithson reveals under oath that USFS receives yearly continuing education credits for field “training in formations and how to protect themselves, how to dissipate crowds, how to deal with crowds” at Rainbow gatherings

http://www.free-assembly.org/gather/courtstorms/ar07-ozark/us-v-wirtshafter/hrg-transcript-5jy07/view

USFS Taser purchase document

http://www.peer.org/docs/fs/07_4_12_taser_justification.pdf

More on Hurricane Katrina:

Abandoned prisoners drown in their cells

http://jenkasjournal.livejournal.com/

Oil spill half the size of infamous Exxon Valdez spill

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/09/hurricanekatrina.usa1#article_continue

Houma Indian Nation in Louisiana bayou hard hit

http://www.wfn.org/2006/06/msg00232.html

More on visit to the White House

http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/97526766.html

Additional video evidence of the USFS’s harassment campaign against Rainbow gatherings can be made available to the press.

This press release is provided as a service of the Rainbow press crew, an unofficial affiliation of volunteers. Additional press releases are on the Rainbow press crew’s website, www.rpcnews.us.

Please forward

-30-

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy