06 Jan 2006 Black Activists Demand Congressional Black Caucus Release Katrina Aid; CBC Foundation Admits Holding Back Money Raised as Early as September
Citing the hypocrisy of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members in criticizing federal relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina while their own nonprofit foundation held onto hundreds of thousands of dollars of corporate donations intended for rebuilding the shattered Gulf Coast, black activists with the Project 21 leadership network are demanding that all funds collected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation be accounted for and immediately distributed to needy survivors.
“We know of no plausible reason for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to continue the shameful abandonment of the victims of Hurricane Katrina through continued procrastination,” said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. “Reasonable minds may question if this fundraising was nothing more than an amoral action on the foundation’s part to increase their treasury at the expense of the needy. It would not be the first time that the race card was played for financial gain.”
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reports to have raised $355,250 – far short of a stated goal of $1 million – in Katrina-related aid largely from General Mills, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Campbell Roofing and Grupo-Modelo. While the foundation’s web site claims that $290,000 was awarded to a New Orleans charity on December 9, 2005, Foundation spokesman Patty Rice told Marc Morano of the Cybercast News Service on December 21, 2005 that the group was still raising money and “then our board has set aside a committee who is going to administer the funds.” Rice added that no money would actually be distributed until 2006.
The glacial pace of the CBC’s relief effort in surprising considering the complaints of CBC members last September regarding federal relief efforts that began shortly following the hurricane’s landfall. At a September 2, 2005 press conference, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) said “the lack of response, the quick response, from our government” was “shockingly awful.” At the same event, Representative Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-MI) said, “We don’t want an Iraq, where the money just goes off somewhere.”
“Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have repeatedly charged that the Bush Administration neglected survivors of Hurricane Katrina, but their own foundation has yet to release all of the donations it collected in the name of those survivors,” said Project 21 member Kevin Martin, who helped with New Orleans clean-up efforts. “All Americans, but black Americans in particular, are owed an explanation as to why this money has gone unused while the CBC engages in race-baiting and division.”
Massie and Martin urge individuals to send an e-mail to the CBC complaining about this situation. A private blog run by A.M. Siriano, who is not affiliated with Project 21, has a sample letter available at http://www.amsiriano.com/blog.php?archive=200601#1716.
For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at https://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.