In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gulf Coast reconstruction policies by the Bush Administration have created a housing crisis that unjustly prolongs the displacement of thousands of predominantly African American residents, subjected workers to discrimination, exploitation, and abuse, prioritized the funding of charter schools that can exercise selective admissions criteria to exclude students, and denied local governmental requests for assistance to build a comprehensive and effective flood protection system, public healthcare facilities, and other critical infrastructure. The Stafford Act, the federal law on governmental responses to national emergencies and disasters, fails to protect Gulf Coast residents from these governmental policies that seek to privatize communities and public services.
The lack of housing, healthcare, schools, environmental protection, and flood protection for displaced Gulf Coast residents – who are predominantly African American – and the abusive treatment of hurricane evacuees and reconstruction workers – who are predominantly people of color – constitute a denial of human rights protections by governmental authorities.
AEHR advocates for a just, sustainable, and anti-racist rebuilding of Gulf Coast communities that respects the human right of all residents to return. Central to our advocacy is raising public awareness about the need for implementing the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in every aspect of Gulf Coast recovery efforts in order to protect the human rights of displaced and returning residents.