For Release: September 2, 2005
Contact: Ryan Balis at 202/543-4110
or [email protected]
Black Group Responds to Congressional Black Caucus Criticism of Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts Project 21 Members Call for End to Divisive Language
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a press conference today in which it was that asserted God "cannot be pleased" with the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina and suggested race is a factor affecting the likelihood of a person's survival in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Speaking at the press conference, Rep. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), said "To the President of the United States, I simply say that God cannot be pleased with our response." Cummings also said: ""We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died in this great storm and flood of 2005 was nothing more than poverty, age or skin color."
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 have blasted the Congressional Black Caucus - whose elected members are charged to serve the best interest of all Americans - for racially politicizing a natural catastrophe.
"The comments and actions of the Congressional Black Caucus were morally opprobrious and divisive," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "It is beneath the level of sane discourse for the Congressional Black Caucus to suggest that blacks are suffering more than the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been displaced."
Adding to these comments, Project 21 member Kevin Martin points out: "Several of the Congressional Black Caucus' members have districts that have been devastated by this natural disaster. But rather than offering encouragement to those federal, state, local, and private citizens who are responding to this natural disaster, they would rather fan the fames of partisan rhetoric and hatred."
Project 21 members also questioned the use of Biblical passages in comments by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), in which he asserted, "God cannot be pleased" with the Bush Administration's response to the disaster.
Mychal Massie, an ordained minister and founder of In His Name Ministries, responded, "For Elijah Cummings to use the Bible to support his hateful speech directed at the President while issuing a pass to the liberal black groups is one more example of his belligerent attitude and jaundiced understanding of appropriateness."
Project 21 members called on members of the legislative branch of government to offer unity, patience and an end to violence and looting. "In this time of tragic need, there should be leadership offered from all sides including the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups," said Kevin Martin.
To date, the federal government has responded to the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina by sending more than 15,000 National Guardsmen, 7,800 U.S. military personnel and 61 Federal Emergency Management response teams to assist in the recovery efforts. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that federal, state and local government efforts have saved more than 4,500 lives, assisted more than 30,000 people and evacuated more than 22,000 displaced persons of the hurricane.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.
For more information, contact Ryan Balis at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at http://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.
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