TOMORROW: February General Meeting!

Hey comrades! 

Tomorrow is the most important holiday of February: General Meeting day! 

Join us at Nora Navra Library at noon for our monthly chapter-wide meeting, where we’ll discuss our organizing efforts and make collective decisions about the political work we are doing. These meetings are open to all. Prefer to meet online? Register here!

Check out the agenda here! We encourage you to read the resolutions in advance:

Hope to see y’all soon!

Solidarity forever,

New Orleans DSA Local Council

Palestine Solidarity CALLS TO ACTION and UPDATES!

While we celebrate this Carnival season, we must not forget that bombs we fund continue to decimate the land and people of Palestine undeterred. Israel has stated clearly their intentions to ethnically cleanse and occupy the whole of the Gaza Strip and are assaulting the southernmost refugee camp in Rafah, threatening the 1.5 million refugees packed into the 25 sq. mile camp already suffering from starvation, thirst, and infectious disease. Meanwhile, murders and illegal settling by Israelis (military and civilians alike) in the West Bank have dramatically accelerated and civilian groups supported by the IDF block humanitarian aid into Gaza, all with no repercussions.

Read on to learn ways you can help and learn more — none of us in Bulbancha are free until Palestinians are.

TODAY, LUNDI GRAS! KREWE OF CHICKPEA: Gather at 11am, rolls at 12pm

Palestinian-led Krewe of Chickpea brings together a solidarity procession focused on art, music, and culture. Costumes are encouraged to follow a dark blue color palette, with watermelon and orange symbols. Gather at 11am in the Marigny for a 12pm roll at Mandeville & Decatur; parade ends at Elysian Fields & Royal.

URGENT: NEW ORLEANIAN GRANDMOTHER KIDNAPPED BY IOF

Samaher Esmail, a Palestinian U.S. citizen raised in New Orleans, was kidnapped by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) on 2/5/24 in the town of Silwad, which is in the West Bank of Palestine. She has a history of illnesses and is without her medication. Read Masjid Omar’s statement here, sign the petition demanding immediate intervention from the Biden administration, and share this information far and wide. We must demand her immediate release and help bring her home!

Phone Numbers to call:

  • Senator Bill Cassidy: (202) 224-5824
  • Senator John Kennedy: (202) 224-4623
  • Representative Troy Carter: (202) 225-6636
  • State Department Number for US citizens abroad: (202) 647-1512

Script: Hi my name is [NAME] and my area code is [___]. I am calling regarding US citizen Samaher Esmail who was kidnapped by Israeli Defense Forces in the West Bank of Palestine on February 5, 2024. She is without her medication. I am calling for you as our representative to demand her immediate release and to bring her home.

CONTINUED FIGHT FOR JUSTICE FOR TAWFIC ABDELJABBAR

We must also continue to demand justice for the criminal and cruel slaying of Tawfic Abdeljabbar, the 17-year-old Gretna native murdered in the West Bank of Palestine. We must call on our elected officials to take a powerful stance demanding prosecution of his murder, in addition to fighting for the end of the violent occupation so his death (and those of tens of thousands of other Palestinians) is not in vain.

THE GULF COAST MARCH FOR PALESTINE — SUNDAY, February 18th, 11:30am: The Masjid Omar Community presents the Gulf Coast Rally & March for a Free Palestine in partnership with thirty organizations across the Gulf South (including the DSA chapters in New Orleans and Corpus Christi!)

It will feature incredible guest speakers such as Jenan Matari, writer & producer; Linda Sarsour, author & activist; Mohamad Habehh, Director of Community Outreach at American Muslims for Palestine; Nida Abu-Baer, artist & advocate for the Holy Land 5; Muhammad Sankari, organizer with the US Palestinian Community Network; Sherean Murad, local activist; and Reverend Gregory Manning, pastor and climate activist. There will also be a procession led by the Congo Square Preservation Society and NOLA Musicians for Palestine.

It begins at Armstrong Park — Let’s come out Sunday and show the world we will not be silent until there is an end to the occupation!

CALLS TO ACTION & OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP!!

[Rally/March] BEFORE SUNDAY:
-Banner design
-Banner painting
-Putting flyers up around the city

[Rally/March] SUNDAY:
-Security & marshaling (major need!)
-Post-rally cleanup (great opportunity for those attending the rally but unable to march!)-Holding banner
-Holding flag

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
-Joining group writing & advocating for the City to pass a ceasefire resolution
-Join the musician or artist groups, Jewish Voice for Peace, NOSHIP, or the Interfaith group
-Aid in organizing the printing of pro-Palestine stickers and buttons
-Aid in organizing poli ed meeting for current and potential DSA endorsees
-Aid in making care packages for unhoused people to distribute to encampments in conjunction with Palestine events
-Participate in community-wide art builds
-Call your electeds about the kidnapping of Samaher Esmail, lack of justice for the murder of Tawfic Abdeljabbar, and demanding their support of a ceasefire.

GET CONNECTED by indicating your interests on this Google Formreplying to this email, or messaging us on social media!

News Updates & Educational Resources:

Questions or comments? Message us on social media or email us at hello@dsaneworleans.org!

Solidarity Forever,

New Orleans Local Council

New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. If you’ve got any questions about how to get involved or the work our chapter is doing, give us a shout at hello@dsaneworleans.org.

Not yet a member? The most important tool that the working class has is organization. We’re strong when we fight together. We have to build a durable, mass political organization to wield the kind of power we need to win real change in our society. If you aren’t a dues-paying member of DSA yet, join today!

Palestine Solidarity & Louisiana Democratic State Party Election Updates

Palestine Solidarity Updates:

At the January General Meeting last Saturday, we voted on two Palestine Solidarity Resolutions. These resolutions both passed unanimously, reaffirming New Orleans DSA’s commitment to Palestinian liberation, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, refusal to work with Zionist entities, and setting minimums for our endorsed candidates.

Resolution Regarding Endorsed DSA-LA Member Nithya Raman: First, our chapter’s membership unanimously voted to sign on to the “Open Letter to the NPC Regarding Nithya Raman.” Members who wish to add their names to the letter individually as well may do so here. Nithya Raman is a Los Angeles City Councilmember and endorsed member of DSA-LA. The unanimously passed resolution contains extensive documentation of Raman’s antagonistic actions toward Palestinian solidarity organizing efforts and other work that our comrades across the country are doing. Nithya Raman has demonstrated an unacceptable level of disrespect for our organization, liberation movements generally, and the very concept of dialogue and willingness to learn. Our chapter joins the call for comrades in DSA-LA to revoke Nithya Raman’s endorsement, and we call on the National Political Committee (NPC) to expel Nithya Raman from DSA. 

Anti-Zionist Resolution: Next, our chapter unanimously voted to pass the Resolution for an Anti-Zionist New Orleans DSA in Principle & Practice. We are most proud of our chapter membership for unanimously voting to stand on our anti-racist and anti-imperialist principles, and acting on the statement in our land acknowledgment, which commits us to “solidarity with the long and continuing battles of… peoples for liberation and justice.” 

Thank you to the members and guests who attended to contribute to this important discussion. We are especially grateful to the local Muslim Organizing Association and community member Hakm M., Ph.D. for attending on their behalf to support the Resolution. We share this message from Hakm:

Congratulations on taking a bold stand for justice by passing the anti-Zionist resolution. This victory echoes beyond resolutions; it resonates with the struggle for equality and dignity worldwide. The Palestinian community in the greater New Orleans salutes your courage in choosing the right side of history.

In motivating the Anti-Zionist Resolution, our co-chair Wash F. spoke of the many intersections between Palestine solidarity organizing and our other work: Police Abolition, Environmental Justice, Healthcare, Education, and fighting against the capitalist empire. For example, following the 2020 uprisings, our chapter passed a Resolution to Prioritize Organizing Towards Police Abolition – in the Deadly Exchange, US police train with the genocidal Israeli military. As for the environment, oil and gas corporations have turned our Gulf South region into a “sacrificial zone” and “cancer alley” –  Israel and the US have plans to exploit offshore gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. The money that should be spent on public goods and services, healthcare, education, and housing for us in the US is instead given to military contractors and weapons manufacturers to bomb Yemen and Palestine. Our chapter recognizes DSA as an “organization of socialists fighting to weaken the power of corporations and the rich” – President Biden has been unabashed in his violation of democracy to protect trade and capitalist interests. Members who aren’t willing to fight capitalism and racism endanger the safety of our space and our reputation and vision.

New Orleanians who experienced Hurricane Katrina know well that imperialism always comes home. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, mercenaries and military contractors descended upon our City. Meanwhile, the American media painted Black New Orleanians as “looters,” giving ample cover for racist police and vigilante gangs to hunt, brutalize, and murder them. The top contractors involved in bleeding Iraq sucked up $3.4 billion in construction contracts along the Gulf Coast. When a reporter asked private security contractors stationed outside the Royal St. Charles Hotel if things were getting pretty wild around the area, one of them replied, ‘Nope. It’s pretty Green Zone here.’” While Katrina left 400,000 New Orleanians homeless, thousands suffering squalid and crowded conditions in the Superdome and Convention Center, the wealthy residents of Audubon Place hired Israeli mercenaries. They specifically requested former operatives of Shin Bet — the Israeli internal security agency infamous for torturing and murdering Palestinian detainees. The Israeli mercenary and owner of the company contracted by these wealthy residents stated, “[m]y people were highly trained to operate in hostile environments. That fit well with the demand of the situation in New Orleans[.]” 

As residents in the heart of the empire, we have all been subjected to propaganda and had information withheld from us by our government, media, and educational institutions. None of us can be expected to come to this movement with perfect historical knowledge and critical analysis of all intersecting issues. However, we do have a duty to disabuse ourselves of the propaganda and ignorance that is inherent to residing within the empire. It is critical to our chapter work, to DSA, and to the movement that each one of us recognize and understand these connections between Palestine solidarity organizing and the issues that arise in other areas of movement work. We must stay curious, be continually willing to self-reflect, educate ourselves, have conversations with comrades, and listen to the members of marginalized and exploited communities. This is doubly important for our endorsed members and those holding political office as they purport to represent and lead the rest of us.

Murder of 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar by Zionist forces on January 19th: Last week, we learned that Israeli occupiers murdered 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar, a Palestinian member of our New Orleans community. As a member of Masjid Omar pointed out, Tawfic is not even the first teenager from New Orleans murdered with complete impunity by Israel. In 2014, Israeli forces murdered 14-year old New Orleanian Orwah Hammad. This Sunday, January 28th at 1pm meet at Masjid Omar, 1528 Pietro Ct. to Ride for Tawfic, a Memorial Motorcade in honor of Tawfic Abdeljabbar and all martyrs of Israel’s genocide. Please follow Masjid Omar and Nola4Palestine on Instagram for updates on this action.

Curious to learn more about Palestinian liberation?

  • We recommend starting with Decolonize Palestine, a collection of resources for organizers and anyone who wants to learn more about Palestine.
  • TOMORROW Saturday, January 27th, 1:00-4:00pm at Cafe Istanbul, JVP New Orleans, Patois, Channel Vivid and Nola Healthcare Workers for Palestine are hosting a special screening of “Israelism” + the short film ‘Roof Knocking.” The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Palestinian and Jewish members of our community who are fighting together for a free Palestine. Get your tickets here! 

Louisiana Democratic State Party Election Updates:

Thanks to the current misleadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Louisiana now has a Republican governor and a veto-proof Republican supermajority in both chambers of the Louisiana legislature. The upcoming Democratic State Party elections are an opportunity to breathe new energy into the Louisiana Democratic Party. At our January General Meeting, our chapter officially recommended eight state-wide DSA members as candidates for the upcoming Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) elections in March, and six local chapter members as candidates for Democratic Parish Executive Committee (DPEC) races. Those candidates are:

Democratic State Central Committee:

  • Courtney Price (Baton Rouge DSA, 66A)
  • Davante Lewis (Baton Rouge DSA, 67B)
  • Jackson Voss (SWLA DSA, 31B)
  • James Jeane (Shreveport DSA, 5B)
  • Kai Macias (Shreveport DSA, 11A)
  • Ealom “Tucker” Allen (Shreveport DSA, 14B)
  • Bobby Woodruff (LA Tech YDSA, 11B)
  • Benjamin Eunice (LA Tech YDSA, 12B)

Democratic Parish Executive Committee:

In addition to these recommendations, our chapter will vote to endorse six of our chapter’s members for their respective DSCC races. A chapter endorsement requires a simple majority vote of at least 25% of our membership. You can review their responses in the candidate’s Q&A sessions in Drive for the video and notes. Chapter members, please check your email for an email from OpaVote.com titled “New Orleans DSA DSCC Endorsements” with instructions on how to vote. Abstentions help towards the 25% quorum requirement, so please submit your ballots before Tuesday, Jan 30th. Those candidates are:

The deadline to register as a democrat to vote for our comrades running for Louisiana State Democratic Party seats is March 2nd! (Register or Change your Registration Here!). Early voting begins March 9th: find early voting locations here. And Election Day is March 23rd: Check your ballot
We are also announcing — nominations are open for two new roles with the Electoral Working Group: Working Group Coordinator and Socialists in Office Liaison. These new roles will help support our continued efforts electings socialists into office & advocating for our vision of New Orleans and Louisiana. These positions are open to any members in good standing of the chapter, and individuals can nominate themselves. Descriptions can be found on the nominations application here.

Announcing New Orleans DSA’s 2023 Voter Guide!

Halloween comes early this year, with a veritable parade of ghouls and boogeymen crawling out from the shadows and swamps all across the great state of Louisiana plying voters with every manner of trick and very few treats ahead of Election Day, October 14th. But only a ghastly few will come to rule us mortals as our next batch of state elected officials. While we’re sure to see a fair number of creeps and weirdos lurking the rank halls of the state Capitol come inauguration day, this year our chapter has voted to endorse two candidates who promise to shine a light on the murky depths of Louisiana politics to cast out some of those creepy crawlies.

Read the full guide here!

New Orleans DSA ’23 Convention Hub

New Orleans DSA is a democratically-run, all-volunteer organization of the working class, and every year we convene to elect officers, consider amendments to our bylaws, and debate member-submitted proposals for the coming year. In short, Convention is our most important annual gathering! Members can weigh in on chapter priorities and fully exercise their power to shape Chapter work for the coming year and beyond. This year our Convention will be held June 24th at 12PM at the John Thomas Legacy Center, 1212 St Bernard Ave. Don’t miss it!

Important Dates

  • We’ll be having a pre-Convention tailgate following our General Meeting May 28th! If you’d like to meet current officers, ask questions about running for DSA positions or submitting proposals, or just hang out, please join us!
  • Submit your bylaw amendments, political resolutions, and electoral endorsements to hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 17th. We also encourage members to post submitted or draft proposals to the #amendments-and-resos channel in slack for feedback and discussion.
  • Submit nominations for Chapter leadership to  hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 10th. You may nominate as many members as you like, but no one may nominate themselves!
  • Convention will be held June 24th at 12PM! Convention will be a hybrid meeting, both in-person and online. For those attending online, we’ll post a link to register on Zoom closer to the event.

Officer Elections

The following positions are up for election this year:

  • Co-Chairs (2)
  • Secretary
  • Membership Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Treasurer Trustee (2)
  • At-Large Council Members (2)

Find more detailed information about all the roles we’ll be electing this year here!

Proposals & Bylaws Amendments

Below is a list of resolutions which will be debated and voted on at Convention (these require a 50%+ vote to be adopted). 

Resolution to Establish an Electoral Strategy for 2023-2025Electoral Working Group., Bob M.
Electoral Endorsements ResolutionJack R.S.
Re-Authorize the Make Entergy Pay CampaignJack R.S.
Prioritize Anti-AirBnB ActionJack R.S.
National Convention Delegate ExpensesJack R.S.

The following amendments to our Bylaws will be considered (these require a 2/3rds majority vote):

National Convention Funding Bylaw AmendmentJack R.S.
Amendment to Abolish Co-ChairsTrey D.
Amendment to Establish an Advisory CouncilTrey D.

We’ll continually update these lists as new proposals are submitted before the deadline on June 17th, so be sure to check back then to read everything we’ll be voting on this year.

Voting

Only members currently in good standing can vote on proposals and in Chapter elections, so make sure you’ve signed up to DSA before the start of Convention! If you’re unsure of your membership status, please visit proof.dsausa.org, or email us at membership@dsaneworleans.org.

Proxy Voting: If you are unable to attend either in-person or via Zoom, you may identify another member to serve as your proxy. This member then votes on proposals and in elections according to your preferences. Attending members may hold up to two proxies. If you will be requesting a proxy, please notify us at hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 23rd with the name of another dues/paying member who will serve as your proxy. If you are unable to identify another member to name as your proxy, please let us know in a note to the above email address, and we’ll assign you a proxy to make sure your votes are cast.

Officer Elections: As usual, we will be elections via software called OpaVote. You will receive your ballot via email when voting opens immediately following the in-person Convention, along with periodic reminders to vote throughout the week.

We have prepared some information about using OpaVote, as well an explainer about our vote counting method:

Proposals: Resolutions and Bylaw Amendments will be voted on at the Convention: in-person attendees may vote by raising a voting card you will receive during your check-in; virtual attendees may vote in the #voting channel of our Chapter Slack, as we do during virtual-only General Meetings.

Vote NO on April 29th

Sheriff Susan Hutson has quietly placed a question on this ballot that would expand OPSO’s current property tax millage from 2.8 mils to 5.5 for the next ten years boosting her annual budget by about $13 million. Hutson hasn’t offered a detailed description of her plans for the funding increase. She has called it a “compliance millage” which would imply that it is meant to help bring the jail into compliance with the dictates of federal oversight. But most of the money seems designated for staff raises and an, as yet, incomplete list of building improvements. As is often the case with the infamously opaque and unaccountable Sheriff’s department, voters are just expected to trust whoever holds the office. In that regard, Hutson hasn’t exactly inspired confidence.

For example, there was the $30,000 Hutson paid in consultation fees to “friend and valued partner” Kyshun Webster last year. This came immediately after Webster had been forced to resign a post as head of the Juvenile Justice Center amid multiple controversies involving abusive treatment of employees and neglect of his own duties as he devoted more of his time to his private insurance business. Previously, a federal audit found that Webster’s “mentoring and tutoring” non-profit had mishandled nearly $900,000 in grant funds back in 2012.  It’s unclear exactly what Hutson learned from Webster’s consulting stint. Apparently he invoiced her for his legwork picking out office space and cleaning equipment. One wonders, though, if Hutson’s illegal attempts to keep incidences of violence and abuse in the jail she is running under a veil of secrecy might also be chalked up to Webster’s “mentorship.”

During this past Carnival season, Hutson’s office was charged with coordinating the city’s last minute mad scramble to staff parade routes with supplemental police and sheriff’s deputies from around the state.  Law enforcement agencies have made it an annual routine to hold Mardi Gras hostage in order to shake down the city for money. This act has only grown more farcical in recent years and, this year, Hutson’s participation has drawn particular scrutiny. According to reports, the Sheriff booked 13 or 15 hotel rooms for what looks like as many as 11 days and nights during the Carnival season, ostensibly for her staff and deputies. No audit can show exactly who used the rooms, though. After the story became a public controversy, Hutson announced the $18,000 hotel bill would be covered through private donations. This only raises further ethical questions, however. So does an expenditure of over $15,000 on a “conflict coaching” consultant to deal with the understandable push back from dissenting advisors among her staff. That money was poorly spent also. Hutson went ahead and fired four of her top staff anyway. At least one of them is considering filing for whistleblower status.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is a great black hole through which public resources are sucked into a carceral system that can only produce corruption and violence. Sheriff Hutson campaigned on promises to “reform” the quagmire. But since she took office, the jail population has only expanded. And now she is asking us to grow its budget. In the 2021 municipal runoff elections edition of our voter guide, we recommended voting for Susan Hutson in 2021 as an opposition candidate to then-sitting Sheriff Marlin Gusman with the understanding that “the Chapter does not consider Hutson nor any other actual or potential law enforcement officer an ally, but considers Hutson an enemy we can more effectively oppose as we continue our work to abolish carceral policing.” We can only conclude that the millage funds would be utilized by Sheriff Hutson’s office to pursue aims counter to our own stated goal of abolishing the carceral police state as we know it. Therefore, we recommend voting NO on Sheriff Hutson’s proposal, as confirmed by a unanimous vote of our General Membership.

New Orleans DSA’s 2022 Voter Guide is Here!

The Municipal Action Committee of New Orleans DSA is proud to release the Fall 2022 Voter Guide! You can learn about the candidates and ballot initiatives here. We hope to connect issues in the races to larger discussions in our city and world, and give a better understanding of the positions and processes of our city and electoral system. The guide covers statewide races, as well as what’s on the ballot specifically in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Beyond educating ourselves through working on and publishing this guide, we hope to inspire readers of the guide to think critically, be curious, and evaluate politicians on how they relate to power.


Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. Make a plan to get to the polls if you haven’t already voted early. You can find your voting information here: https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/Home/VoterLogin.

“MAKE ENTERGY PAY” CAMPAIGN TO RALLY DEBT STRIKE AGAINST ENTERGY NEW ORLEANS TO LAUNCH NOVEMBER 1

The campaign will organize ratepayers in debt to Entergy to demand forgiveness of all post-pandemic utility debt and a permanent shutoff moratorium after the November 1 end of the temporary moratorium.

New Orleans, LA – Dissatisfied Entergy New Orleans ratepayers will organize their neighbors to refuse to make ongoing payments, or pay off any debts to the utility until Entergy and the New Orleans City Council forgive all debts since March 2020, and agree to place a permanent moratorium on power shutoffs.

New Orleans DSA campaign leaders say Entergy’s record profits, along with their reliance on dirty fossil fuels, as well as a litany of tacked-on fees, justify their effort to “Make Entergy Pay” for ratepayers’ ever-increasing debts.

“While New Orleanians have suffered regular sunny day outages, massive failures in storms due to a lack of maintenance, and skyrocketing bills, Entergy executives and shareholders have given themselves raise after raise,” said Jack R., a campaign organizer, “It’s high time Entergy paid the price for its poor management and outright greed.”

In spite of Entergy New Orleans’s poor performance, the COVID pandemic, and several major tropical storms, in 2021 the company reported record profits of nearly $1.4 billion, while outgoing Entergy Corp. CEO Leo Denault is paid a salary of $16 million, before even including lucrative stock bonuses.

The campaign will recruit 10,000 pledges among Entergy New Orleans ratepayers before initiating the strike, during which participants will refuse to make payments on previous utility debts and future charges.

The strike will continue until Entergy agrees to the campaign’s demands, or is forced to acquiesce by the New Orleans City Council.Campaign organizers say they will continue their efforts beyond the debt strike in pursuit of a fully municipalized, public electrical utility for New Orleans, owned by city residents and operated under the auspices of the New Orleans City Council.

About New Orleans DSA

New Orleans DSA is the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a volunteer organization supported by its dues-paying members with the goal of democratizing all aspects of society, political and economic. The New Orleans chapter has previously participated in the Save Your NOLA Library campaign, the effort to decriminalize sex work through the state legislature, engages in regular community mutual aid projects such as free health fairs and free brake light replacement clinics, and produces regular voter guides to provide unvarnished analysis of local and state elections.

Cut Off: Unemployment During the Pandemic

On July 31st, an estimated 100,000 self-employed Louisiana residents, including musicians, contractors, and “gig workers’ were cutoff from federal assistance programs. New Orleans DSA spent the last month gathering potential plaintiffs and agitating for a lawsuit to stop this cutoff, similar to ones filed other states.  Over a thousand people responded to our call, and the case will be heard tomorrow, August 12th, in front of Judge Kelly. With permission, we would like to share just a few of the heartbreaking stories from some of the resilient and hard-working Louisianans whose livelihoods depend on these benefits. All stories are in their own words and have been lightly edited for clarity.

“I lost my brother to COVID it’s just so sad and upsetting that the government wants us to go back to work when nobody is hiring and if they are hiring they’re only hiring for part time jobs. This is really going to set me back because I have to figure out how to provide and live with my kids along with having fear of getting sick and dying.”

“I’m hoping PUA is extended because I have 3 children and 2 step kids that I’m taking care of. I have bills that have fallen behind and I have 3 autoimmune disorders that really affect my body- one of them being in late stages in my lungs so my doctor has told me with everything spiking again and with the delta coming into play that I need to stay home as much as possible. If the PUA unemployment benefits are going to be cut off then I’m going to be forced to go into public and risk my life to find a job to support myself and my children, and that really scares me because I’m all they have. This unemployment is my life line right now and if it’s not off I don’t know how we will survive, especially paying our bills.”

“I really think unemployment benefits should be saved because A lot of single mothers including myself and a lot of people in general have been really affected by the coronavirus. If the unemployment isn’t reinstated me and my new born child will be homeless and without any food. I applied for so many jobs since the beginning of the pandemic and not one has even contacted me. I really do desperately depend on unemployment. I know everyone has a sad story. Before the pandemic I worked and made my own money. I had to stop working due to catching the virus and I really do hope and pray to get back to work one day soon because I’d really rather work for my own money rather than depend on the government, but I have to due to Covid 19.”

“I’m soon to be 55 years old and I have several health issues myself, high blood pressure being the first and most important. I was an employee at a hospital in Louisiana when I went on leave to take care of my mother out-of-state, who is ill, and my adult son who has schizophrenia. The last day I worked was in March of 2020. That was the day my admin department was shutting down because of Covid. 

Unemployment allowed me to pay my rent and bills while out. Cutting off unemployment early will be devastating to me and worse for others. My rent is going up and with no job I can’t pay it, nor utilities, etc. I support and buy food for my son.

Louisiana takes advantage of the working people, this state capitalizes on indentured servitude. No one can live decently making under $15 an hour- have a car, insurance, have health insurance, decent housing, utilities. I can’t imagine having small children under these conditions. 

People accuse us of being lazy and not wanting to work. Someone should hold the employers accountable for firing people indiscriminately during a pandemic. I know first hand what poverty, poor education, lack of resources look like. We will be ruined if this unemployment stops early. We were smart enough to pay rent ahead and unemployment benefits will be used to pay our bills to allow for more time to find employment.”

While we await results from court, we would love your help in flooding the phone lines of Governor John Bel Edwards to let him know how this cutoff has impacted you, your family, and your neighbors. Governor Edwards needs to know that his decision to cut benefits has had far-reaching consequences on his constituents. With COVID numbers continuing to surge, and seeing the cancellation of more events, there will only be a greater need for sustained assistance for unemployed workers, and he needs to take action TODAY. Let Governor Edwards know you are watching how this lawsuit pans out, and urge him to think of unemployed workers in Louisiana.

Governor John Bel Edwards:

Constituent phone line (225) 342-0991
Or, you can e-mail him at the link here.

On July 31st, 100,000 self-employed Louisianans will be cutoff from federal pandemic assistance. The people of Louisiana deserve legal representation.

Are you impacted by the July 31st Cutoff?
Last month, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards sided with corporatist legislators and business lobbyists and against the people of Louisiana. On July 31st, an estimated 100,000 self-employed Louisiana residents, including musicians, contractors, and “gig workers’ will be cutoff from federal assistance programs. Thousands more will have their weekly benefits slashed in the midst of surging COVID hospitalization rates.

The People of Louisiana Deserve Legal Representation
Worker Power Louisiana and New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) created this form to help identify potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit similar to those filed in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Our goal in collecting the names of potential plaintiffs is to encourage legal aid organizations, such as the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) to file a lawsuit before July 31st. At this time, we are not aware of any legal aid group, attorney, or legal team prepared to file suit. We hope to change that. Legal aid groups in other states have filed suits on behalf of their people. The people of Louisiana deserve the same representation.

If you or someone you know will be impacted by this cutoff, please help spread the word!

Potential Plaintiff Form: https://bit.ly/July31Cutoff