NAACP Passes Emergency Resolution to Aid Victims of Oil Spill Disaster

WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP passed an emergency resolution at its national board meeting last week committing the Association to take action in support of the thousands of Gulf Coast communities affected by an oil drilling disaster delivering at least 5,000 barrels of oil daily into the Gulf waters.

The resolution states that the NAACP national office will provide support to local NAACP units in an effort to address advocacy needs resulting from the disaster. The organization will also file paperwork to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to qualify the NAACP as a first responder to the Gulf Coast crisis.

“The latest disaster in the Gulf Coast is another tragedy in a troubling pattern of devastating results from our dependence on fossil fuels, including oil,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Much like in the catastrophes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, disasters from which the Gulf Coast region has yet to fully recover, communities of color and the poor suffer disproportionately.  The NAACP will band together to ensure that our Gulf Coast brothers and sisters receive the swift, adequate aid they need and deserve during this time of crisis.”

“This manmade disaster stands to compromise the health and wellbeing of thousands of people who live in coastal communities and those whose livelihoods are dependent on the bounties of the sea,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock. “The NAACP is committed to taking any and all steps necessary to ensure that the civil rights of African Americans and other minority citizens will continue to be upheld.”

The oil spill, which resulted from the explosion of an oil drilling rig, has reached land in Louisiana and Alabama, while predictions suggest that it may also reach the shores of Mississippi and Florida. With hurricane season approaching, the disaster is anticipated to grow in impact as currents may force the oil further inland to bodies of water such as Lake Pontchartrain.  According to Director of NAACP Climate Gap Initiative Jacqui Patterson, multiple measures are critically needed to properly address this crisis, and mitigate the affect in has on communities.

“As an underpinning principle, communities must lead in determining and directing responses and ensuring that the needs of most impacted persons are met,” said Director of NAACP Climate Gap Initiative Jacqui Patterson. “Among other things, the NAACP will implement education campaigns to inform community members about what’s happening, what to anticipate and how to access available resources, and maintain vigilance for civil and human rights abuses.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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