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Pursuing a Class Action Lawsuit and Apology From the United States President and Congress on Behalf of the Victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita

WHEREAS, Hurricane Katrina and Rita devastated America's Gulf Coast; and

WHEREAS, in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita's arrival billions of dollars of damage were dealt to New Orleans, Louisiana, Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobile County, Alabama and other Gulf Coast Regions; and

WHEREAS, over a quarter of a million people were displaced due to Katrina and Rita's wrath; and

WHEREAS, due to a failure to plan by various agencies within the United States Government, many of the Gulf Coast minorities and poor were left in disparate, unforgiving environments; for as long as 7 days; and

WHEREAS, local and state officials in the region made multiple requests for federal assistance, including military personnel, all of which were not answered within a timely manner; and

WHEREAS, due to a failure of planning and execution of natural disaster policies and procedure, many of the Gulf Coast's poor and minorities did not receive any federal assistance for evacuation or shelter until almost two days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; and

WHEREAS, the approximate death toll in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has risen to over 1,200 people making this Hurricane one of the deadliest as well as costliest in US history; and

WHEREAS, the United States Congress has passed legislation appropriating funds for the Hurricane Katrina relief; while also passing legislation that has relaxed hiring procedures that secure fair and just employment practices and also relaxing federal contracting standards to level the playing field for bidding on federal contracts; leaving African American businesses with little chance to participate in the devastated Gulf Coast economy and workers with little wage protection; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP has taken many stances on behalf of America's African Americans, sincere concerns in Appropriations Bill H.R. 3673, which relaxes hiring practices that mandated the inclusion of African Americans in the hiring process; and

WHEREAS, thousands of the Gulf Coast displaced persons have sought shelter and residence throughout America and are seeking federal assistance from FEMA and other government agencies, to return them to being productive and active US citizens; now

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges the United States President and Congress to ensure that all people living in America, in every area that is prone to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or any other catastrophic event are made aware of what to do in any and all emergency situations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon the United States President and Congress to immediately issue a formal apology to all victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita for the failure of a timely and effective governmental response; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP work for the fair wages and contracts on behalf of African American business owners and African American workers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will diligently work for full and proper compensation and health-related assistance for the African American business owners and residents displaced from the Gulf Coast by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for a declaration of urgency in the recovery efforts to restore African American and underserved citizens affected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita so that rules can be waived or temporarily altered in order to:

1. fairly compensate such citizens for losses;

2. rapidly certify small businesses that wish to become eligible for government contracts (all levels);

3. expeditiously process loans for African American businesses;

4. facilitate prompt acquisition of loans and mortgages by African Americans;

5. waive payment for existing student loans;

6. expand eligibility for educational grants, low interest loans and work study programs;

7. provide Medicaid insurance for families and individuals having incomes of up to 300% of federal poverty; and

8. provide special protections and rules for people who were eligible or would become eligible to vote between August 2005 and December 2008.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP pursue class action litigation on behalf of the African American residents and business owners in the Gulf Coast Region.