Letter from St. Bernard Occupation
Monday, Jan. 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM
Currently Occupying the St. Bernard Housing Project
January 15, 2007
To whom it may concern:
We are the individuals currently occupying the St. Bernard Housing Project. We are inside as guests of, and at the request of undisclosed current lease holders. We are members of an organization called Mayday NOLA, a housing rights organization “committed to the belief that housing is a human right, and that all people are entitled to economic justice. Many of us have been or currently are homeless ourselves, so we are dedicated from within the communities most affected by economic injustice.” (http://maydaydc.mahost.org)
We are occupying St. Bernard Housing Project because we were contacted, and have been requested to do so by St. Bernard residents and other public housing residents. We are not outside agitators. We are individuals working at the request and under the direction of those most effected by the demolition of New Orleans' public housing system. The residents are the voices demanding justice, and we are inside because of their organizing, and in solidarity with their struggle for their homes. It is our intention to continue to occupy St. Bernard in protest until the scheduled demolitions are canceled permanently, or the residents are satisfied that their demands have been met. On this we are not negotiable. Any negotiation must be done with representatives of the public housing residents whose homes are being threatened and who have requested that we undertake this occupation. We will only leave at the request of these residents. We will not negotiate our exit with the police, HANO, HUD, the Mayor's Office, or any other entity. We hope for a quick and reasonable solution to this situation. Though this occupation is taking place specifically at St. Bernard, it is intended to draw attention to the attempt by HANO, HUD and developers to demolish St. Bernard, Lafitte, BW Cooper, and CJ Peete. We trust that City, State, and Federal officials will be willing to negotiate in good faith with the residents who entrusted their homes to us.
We are saddened by HUD and HANO's actions, and Mayor Nagin's complicity with those actions, which together created this situation. We are deeply disappointed that the interests of wealthy developers have been placed above the interests of New Orleans residents already displaced once by Katrina, and now facing further displacement by greed. We are hopeful that through negotiation this occupation will end quickly, so that we can go home, and that Public Housing residents may return to their city and to their homes.