Gulf Coast youth head to D.C. to call for action from Congress, the President

New Orleans, LA - More than 100 youth and community members from the Gulf Coast are on their way to  Washington D.C. today to bring a unified messaged to Congress and the President:  the BP oil disaster is not over.

The occasion is Power Shift 2011, a youth climate summit expected to attract 10,000, for four days of workshops, training, and action in front of the White House and on Capitol Hill.

The diverse contingent from the Gulf Coast includes BP oil spill clean-up workers; injured chemical workers from Texas; Vietnamese youth from the fishing community in Biloxi, Mississippi; historic African American communities that have faced environmental injustices issues for years; college students; a Gulf Coast mom who walked all the way to D.C. from New Orleans, and a FEMA trailer turned Gulf Coast billboard, dubbed the "Tarball Express."

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to speak on a Gulf Coast panel at Power Shift," says Eranika Jackson, "I will address the human rights violations that my community endures as a result of toxic industrial pollution, and what we are doing about it."  Jackson is a member of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN), and will speak on one of the five panels prepared by the Gulf Coast contingent.

LaTosha Brown, director of the Gulf Coast Fund (, explains why hers and so many other groups came together to cover the travel costs for the group, "The Gulf Coast is facing a humanitarian and environmental crisis. Community and youth leaders… need to be heard."  

On Monday, the contingent will take action in front of BP's lobbying headquarters, demanding that BP pay the nearly $10 billion the corporation has dodged in 2010 taxes, and finish cleaning up their mess.  They'll also call for leadership from President Obama outside the White House, and meet with their representatives' offices to demand that Congress act now to stop the crisis on America’s Gulf Coast, and make BP pay for their disaster.

Several of the youth and community members will be blogging about their stories and experience on, so check back to see how it goes.