A community voice

New Orleans, Louisiana

Members of A Community Voice in New Orleans, protesting flooding.

In New Orleans, A Community Voice-Louisiana (ACV) fights for social and economic justice for low to moderate income families. Founded by former board and members of Louisiana ACORN four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated their community, ACV is dedicated to improving the lives and elevating the voices of its people.

Debra Campbell and Rev. Richard Bell, native New Orleanian African Americans lead the non-profit organization in support of their community’s needs and issues. In the last few months, ACV has won a major victory opening a staffed satellite utility office in the iconic Lower 9th Ward, won replacement of leadened water mains, secured lead testing of drinking water in the public schools, continued to prevent the building of a freeway through three major African American communities, collected donations for displaced apartment fire victims, canvassed neighborhoods prior to election day, provided COVID resources, and joined with other coalitions to work on environmental justice issues, including lead issues.  

Beth Butler and Gwendolyn Adams of A Community Voice discuss the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Lower Ninth Ward.

When Hurricane Laura pummeled Lake Charles, LA, ACV led “Guerilla Donations,” an effort to supply evacuees with much needed supplies. Higher Ground Pensacola, part of Anthropocene Alliance’s network, joined in that effort. And, ACV — as Hurricane Zeta victims — held their well-attended general membership meeting in the dark with no electricity because the lower income members are just that loyal and need access to information, to ensure that everyone in need was accounted for.

Last spring, with the help of Anthropocene Alliance, ACV received a grant from the Kresge Foundation to create a climate victory garden at ACORN Farm. The organic, nonprofit urban farm and community space is dedicated to increasing food access and education, where residents have access to produce that is truly local, affordable, and delicious. The vegetables go either directly to, or are sold for the benefit of, community members in need.

A Community Voice is raising funding for affordable housing in the Lower Ninth ward.

Anthropocene Alliance also assisted ACV in securing funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The “Wells Fargo Resilient Communities Program” grant helps vulnerable communities develop green infrastructure programs such as developing bioswales, rain gardens, and other nature-based defenses against flooding. With support from AARP, they created a rain garden. They have collaborated with pro bono scientists and engineers to help identify flood risks and the best practical solutions.

Members of A Community Voice.

Looking forward, the group has plans.  Cedric Richmond, former U.S. Rep. for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, is now senior advisor to President Biden and Director of the Office of Public Engagement. All hope that the New Orleans native will be an avenue to letting the White House know what their community is concerned about. First on the list: better evacuation routes for disasters, removal of leadened water lines throughout the state, and continued work with coalitions to win larger issues.

Written by Kerri McLean

Links

Blight to Bioswales: LSU CEE Student Project to Help Lower Ninth Ward

Back-to-Back Hurricanes—A New Climate Peril?

Thriving Earth Exchange

Contact
Beth Butler

Website/social media
http://www.acommunityvoice.org/

Climate impacts
Flooding
Water contamination

Strategy
Nature-based solutions Halting Bad Development
Fighting industrial contamination
Renewable energy
Community farm/gardens
Affordable housing

501c3 tax deductible
No

Accepting donations
Yes – donate here.

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