President-Elect Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi received letters Friday urging the signing of an Executive Order authorizing the Gulf Coast Civic Works Program and the inclusion of $6.7 billion for Gulf Coast Civic Works projects to rebuild communities, restore the coastal environment and revitalize local economies in the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The letters were signed by more than 130 community, environmental, faith, human rights, labor and student organizations across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and their national allies as part of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign

The text of the letter reads:

Dear President-Elect Obama,

As representatives of diverse Gulf Coast communities and their national supporters, we would like to extend our congratulations on your remarkable Presidential victory.  During the campaign, as hurricanes Ike and Gustav struck, Americans were reawakened to the unmet needs Gulf Coast communities still face in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita more than three years later.  In visits to the Gulf Coast, you have articulated a desire to partner with hurricane survivors as they rebuild their communities and revitalize the region's economy.

Whether by inaction or injustice, we still have failed to protect the rights and wellbeing of Gulf Coast survivors, immigrants and their families, especially the children, the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable. The collapse of local institutions, homelessness, internal displacement, poverty, abusive labor practices and environmental degradation mean communities continue to suffer and struggle unduly.

This crisis demands a powerful response.  Despite the millions of hours volunteered by selfless Americans and the heroic efforts of residents, Gulf Coast communities still lack a robust and responsive federal partner in their recovery.  As President of the United States of America we hope you will move sign an executive order authorizing the Gulf Coast Civic Works Program in the first 100 hours of your Administration and request that Congress appropriate $6.7 billion for Gulf Coast Civic Works projects in your upcoming economic recovery plan.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Program fits well within your plan to create 3 million jobs.  The program would directly partner with communities to create 100,000 "green" jobs and training opportunities to tackle local recovery challenges and revitalize the region's economy.  Working with local officials and community organizations it would; rebuild and repair vital public infrastructure including schools, police and fire stations, hospitals, parks, roads, flood protection, and restore eroding natural flood protection like marshes and wetlands.  This comprehensive approach will train a new generation of skilled workers, encourage green building techniques, promote local businesses and help communities build resilience to future disasters, securing vital national security interests along America's Gulf Coast.

This policy has bipartisan support from 27 Members of Congress including Representatives Rodney Alexander, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Charlie Melancon, Gene Taylor, and Bennie Thompson, over 100 supporting organizations, dozens of national faith leaders, as well as the Louisiana Republican Party, the New Orleans City Council, and the Lafourche and Terrebonne, LA Parish Councils.  The Gulf Coast Civic Works Program includes oversight and community participation in federal investment and serves as an innovative model for tackling our national need for infrastructure and green jobs.

It is our sincerest hope and prayer that you will issue an executive order authorizing the Gulf Coast Civic Works Program and calling for an appropriation of $6.7 billion in your upcoming economic recovery plan.

Signed,

232-HELP/Louisiana 211

ACORN

AFL-CIO Investment Trust Program, Gulf Coast Revitalization Program

Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, Inc.

Alabama Arise

All Congregations Together

Appleseed

Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

Bay Area Women Coalition, Inc

Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing

Bayou Grace Community Services

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeast Louisiana

Biloxi Branch NAACP

BIT Bayou Interfaith Together

BlueStone Ministries

CDC58:12, Inc.

Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal

Christian Justice Action (United Church of Christ )

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Church of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office

Churches Supporting Churches

Clergy Strategic Alliances

Coastal Women for Change

Color of Change

Common Cause

Common Ground Health Clinic

Community Center of St Bernard

Community of Christ Outreach Program

COPE Congregations Organizing People for Equality

Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University

Desire Street Ministries

Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)

ENPHRONT, INC

Episcopal Appalachian Ministries

Episcopal Network for Economic Justice

Equal Partners in Faith

Equity and Inclusion Campaign

Evangelicals for Human Rights

Every Child Matters Education Fund Louisiana

Finding Our Folks

First Pilgrims Baptist Church JEDC HDM (New Orleans, LA)

FUEL Faith United for Empowerment and Leadership

Gert Town Revival Initiative

Global Green USA

Green For All

Gulf Coast Civic Works Project

Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center

Gulf Coast Southeast Asian Resource Center, Inc.

Gulf Restoration Network

Gulf South Allied Funders

Hands On New Orleans

Hope Community Development Agency

Hope Haven of Hancock County Inc.

In This Together, Inc.

Institute for Southern Studies

Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies

Interfaith Worker Justice

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

Judy Drive Civic Association, Meraux, LA

Keys To Abundant Life Community Outreach Agency, Inc

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Louisiana Appleseed

Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations

Louisiana Community Reinvestment Coalition

Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Louisiana Housing Alliance

Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper

May Day New Orleans

Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office

MICAH Project

Middle Collegiate Church (New York, NY)

Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

Minnesota Tenants Union

Minnesota-New Orleans Solidarity Committee

MIRA! Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance

Mississippi Center for Justice

Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force

Mississippi Poultry Workers for Equality and Respect

MQVN Community Development Corporation

Ms. Foundation for Women

National Alliances of Vietnamese American Service Agencies

National Council of Churches

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

National Employment Law Project

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc.

Neighborhood Partnership Network

NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative

North Gulfport Community Land Trust

Northside Neighbors for Justice

Orleans Recovery Foundation (ORF)

Ouachita Riverkeeper

OXFAM America

Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement

People for Community Recovery

PICO Louisiana 

PICO National Network

PolicyLink

Praxis Project

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

Presbytery of So. Louisiana Recovery

Prince Garrett Ministries (McLain, MS)

Protestant Justice Action

Providence Community Housing

Puentes New Orleans, Inc.

REJOICE, Inc. Resource Center for Families

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Shelter Resources, Inc. d.b.a. Belle Reve New Orleans

Sierra Club, Mississippi Chapter

Sisters of Charity of New York, Office of Justice and Peace

Soria City Civic Organization (South Gulfport, MS)

South Bay Communities Alliance

Steps Coalition

Survivors Village New Orleans

Technical Assistance Collaborative

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

Turkey Creek Community Initiatives (TCCI)

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

United Christian Community Association

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Hearts Community Action Agency, Inc.

United Houma Nation

UNITY of Greater New Orleans with Common Ground Institute

Volunteers of America

Women Donors Network

YOUTHanasia Foundation Inc.

Youth Build Americorps Katrina Rebuilding Project

Zion Travelers Cooperative Center, Inc

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See a summary of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign here.

For more information contact: Gulf Coast Civic Works Program, Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, (510) 508-5382, smlipton@sjsu.edu