No one is above misfortune and tragedy. On Sunday August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Category 4 Hurricane Ida ravaged Louisiana. An active disaster declaration was made for one-third of the state, and many are still without power, reliable food, housing, or clean water. At ACLU of Louisiana, we strive to apply a Community Centric Fundraising lens to our development work. This means we believe fundraising must be grounded in race, equity, and social justice; individual organization missions are not as important as the collective community; and nonprofits are generous with--and mutually supportive of--one another.
In times of disaster and in times of celebration, we must come together to build the support systems we need to survive and thrive. Today, we encourage ACLU donors and members who were not impacted, in Louisiana and nationwide, to support our most marginalized neighbors’ recovery by giving to one or more of the organizations below. This is a non-exhaustive list, and we will continue to add to it. If you are interested in sharing a relief effort with us, please email email@example.com.
Support indigenous communities by giving directly to those who have been devastated by the storm. Ancestors of these Tribes survived in these areas after being displaced by the Indian Removal Act-era policies. The land that Hurricane Ida devastated is the epicenter of their Tribes and traditions.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most federal and state relief. Giving to the following grassroots organizations will result in direct support of immigrant families in Louisiana.
- Our Voice Nuestra Voces: OVNV is a cross-cultural issues organizing group that brings together Black and Brown communities to build collective power to reform the criminal justice and immigration systems. Their mutual aid fund will be distributed directly to undocumented immigrants and other marginalized community members who need immediate support.
- Voces Unidas: This Louisiana immigrants’ rights coalition advocates for an anti-racist immigration policy and process that honors humanity, resists tyranny, and engages community in assisting migrating people. Funds will go directly to asylum seekers with a special emphasis on non-citizen single parents.
- Union Migrante is a democratic organization of immigrants and for immigrants. Donors can give directly to a representative of the organization, so that 100% of the donation will be given directly to families in need. Representatives are listed here:
- Alfredo Salazar firstname.lastname@example.org 504.421.6594 (Zelle, Venmo, Cash App)
- Rosalva Montiel 504.221.6980 @rosy_martinez1824 (Venmo)
- Rachel Taber 202.297.0971 email@example.com
Donors may also give to Union Migrante's Fiscal Sponsor, alliance for Global Justice at afjg.org. Specify the funds are for "Solidarity Ignite" for people impacted by Hurricane Ida. The sponsor will take an 8% processing fee out of donations. Union Migrante also has a GoFundMe page, which will take out a 3% processing fee https://gofund.me/0f17d330
Incarcerated/Formerly Incarcerated Communities
FEMA assistance is household-based, which leaves out many unhoused people, including people under supervision who are transiently housed. In addition, the Small Business Administration includes criminal history as an eligibility criteria for disaster loans, and many people are in business for themselves as a path to economic stability after coming out of prison.
- Innocence Project New Orleans Client Fund: IPNO clients are working to rebuild their lives after years of wrongful conviction, the past 18 months of a pandemic, and now the long road ahead in the wake of Hurricane Ida. These funds will cover evacuation expenses (hotels, gas, food, loss of income), immediate fixes to property, cleaning supplies, important medication, and more.
- OPPRC: Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition is a diverse, grassroots coalition of individuals and organizations committed to decarcerating New Orleans, improving conditions in the jail, and promoting healthy alternatives to incarceration. Currently, OPPRC is distributing money to community members in need and recently incarcerated individuals.
- Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana: The Justice & Accountability Center works to eliminate obstacles to opportunity for people harmed by the systemic racism and economic impacts of the criminal legal system through policy advocacy, public education, and legal representation. JAC is raising funds for one reentry client whose home was badly damaged by Hurricane Ida.
River Parishes Communities
Hundreds of plantations once lined the Mississippi River on its path from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Since then, large petrochemical plants purchased much of the land that is surrounded by Black community members who descend from enslaved people. Hurricane Ida devastated the River Parishes and this already vulnerable community. Projections for restoring electricity in this are in late September.
- The Descendants Project: The Descendants Project is an emerging organization committed to the intergenerational healing and flourishing of the Black descendant community in the Louisiana River Parishes. The lands of the river parishes hold the intersecting histories of enslavement, settler colonialism, and environmental degradation. TDP will distribute funds directly to community members in need.
- Rise St. James: RSJ is a faith-based grass-roots organization formed to advocate for racial and environmental justice in St. James, Louisiana. They learned in November 2019 that graves of people enslaved on former plantations had been discovered in an area in their community slated for a massive plastics facility.
- IDA Relief for Small Black Neighborhoods: This GoFundMe was set up by a Black woman from St. Rose, which is a small town in St. Charles Parish. The fund is specifically for small Black communities in Louisiana that were hard hit but don't get the same coverage as the larger cities.
- The Whitney Plantation: The Whitney Plantation Museum is the only museum in Louisiana with an exclusive focus on the lives of enslaved people. Whitney Plantation has sustained significant damage from Hurricane Ida. The museum will be closed indefinitely while staff works to assess damage and make necessary repairs. Whitney Plantation will continue to pay the entire staff during this closure. Donations help the museum pay staff and offset the cost of repairs and ongoing preservation work.
- House of Tulip Rapid Response: This rapid response fund provides direct cash assistance for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming community members directly impacted by Hurricane Ida.
- Trans/Queer Youth NOLA: This is an open hang out space for LGBTQIA (or Questioning) young people in New Orleans on Instagram. They are directing funds directly to trans/queer youth in need.
Other BIPOC Led Organizations Supporting Storm Recovery
- Imagine Water Works: All donations to this mutual aid fund will support relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ida, as well as essential preparation for the rest of hurricane season. The Fund’s leadership is Native, Creole, queer, trans, and deeply connected to the community. They have supported preparedness and recovery work at home in New Orleans since 2012, in addition to supporting Southwest Louisiana through Hurricane Laura and recently extending our hurricane prep outreach to the Northeastern U.S. for Hurricane Henri. They have extensive lived and trained experience in mutual aid and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery. And they are actively reimagining disaster relief as liberatory and shame-free.
- The New Orleans Black Youth Fund: This organization was created in 2020 to redistribute resources to New Orleans Black Youth, ages 14 to 25. Donors can support through Cashapp $nolablackyouthfund1.
- Another Gulf is Possible: This group will distribute goods and donations directly to indigenous, Black, and Brown frontline folks impacted by Hurricane Ida, groups who currently don’t have online donations capacity, as well as directly to individual families impacted by the storm.
- BAMM Cares: A member of the ACLU of Louisiana’s Arts & Business Justice Collaborative, founder of BAMM Communications and the BAMM Cares nonprofit Brandon Armant is raising funds that will go directly to small businesses and families, primarily in the River Parishes.
- Moms of Color: Focused on hearing, educating and empowering Black mothers and children, this organization is collecting donations that will go directly to mothers of color who are navigating the impact of Hurricane Ida with their children.