July 2011

Louisiana shrimp buyer Dean Blanchard has seen plenty of crazy things during his life in the bayou. But his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets the day he watched a mother dolphin pushing her dead baby calf  towards him as he stood on the commercial dock of his once thriving seafood business on Grand Isle.  

Over the last few months people across this great Gulf, and nation, have been organizing. I wish to make you aware of not only the effort, but of the possibility of your part in it, should you decide to answer the call.

The intent of the below actions are to be all-inclusive. The reason for that is, as my friend Fritzi said recently, “Sticks in a bundle cannot be broken”. There is a way for you to participate in saving the Gulf and her people - and further our world.

In the aftermath of BP oil drilling disaster, it seemed that an overwhelming (albeit needed) amount of attention was given to restoring the environment, protecting animals, and the money – always the money.  Very little attention was given to actually providing health care to people impacted by the oil disaster or the response to the disaster.

 This new statement by the  Women’s Health & Justice Initiative condemns the irresponsible and demeaning use of drug testing to police the lives of welfare recipients.  We urge you to use the statement, and credit us, when addressing these intersecting issues, even if your political work is not centered around low-income women or women of color. 

The Manchester neighborhood in Houston is completely surrounded by Valero, Texas Recycling, a car crushing facility, the Port of Houston, Highway 610, a rail yard and a waste water treatment plant.  These are two aerial photos of the Manchester community that my dad, Juan Parras, took a few years ago.  The area in green is of course Manchester.  The third image is a shot of the Houston Ship Channel.

At the last minute I planned a friendly gathering in Gulfport, Mississippi for the July 4th weekend. Well, it ended up just being myself and my friend, fellow Mississippi Gulf Coast activist Laurel Lockamy. That was alright with us, because we accomplished what we set out to do: to inform, educate and possibly save a child or someone from getting sick from being in the waters of our Gulf.

This is an expanded version of a story originally published on The Loop21 Black news and opinion website.  In New Orleans’ federal courthouse, five police officers are currently facing charges of killing unarmed Black civilians and conspiring for more than four years to cover-up their crime.

Editor's note: Today, a guest blogger explains some of the legal obstacles and opportunities for whistleblowers in the BP disaster. Lindsey Williams of the National Whistleblowers Center describes how a law signed by Abraham Lincoln could be used to protect whistleblowers on the Gulf Coast, and make negligent corporations pay.

One year has passed since the announcement was made that the oil had stopped flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. I remember that day explicitly because it was the same day I went on national television and asked, demanded really, that the President come down and meet with the people being affected.