to Restore Opportunity
a National Day of Prayer and Call to Action
February 22, 2006
Dear Community of Faith:
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced the waters of Lake Pontchartrain over and through the levees protecting New Orleans. Three weeks later, President Bush promised a national television audience that his administration would “do what it takes...to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.” Six months later, the disaster continues to unfold. Today, New Orleans has one-third the number of residents it had pre-Katrina, the vast majority of the city's public schools remain closed, and only half of its traffic lights work. Many needy communities throughout the Gulf Coast still have not seen a FEMA truck. On behalf of the people of the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, the city of New Orleans, the region, and the many other communities that have borne the brunt of this tragedy, we must do better.
We are inviting you to join The National Alliance to Restore Opportunity for a National Day of Prayer and Call to Action during the weekend of March 3-5, 2006, six months after the breach of the levees in New Orleans. We will share our thoughts, prayers, concern and support for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and for all those whose lives have been affected by these combined tragedies. We are asking that you and your church, synagogue, mosque, or other spiritual or religious group engage in public prayer, reflection and dialogue on March 3rd, 4th or 5th, as your spiritual practices allow, to acknowledge the continued suffering of countless people throughout the Gulf Coast and beyond. This day will give us a renewed opportunity to embrace our mutual dependence, responsibility for one another's well-being and the role we need the government to play to help us care for each other.
We are also asking you to mark March 3rd, 4th and 5th as a time to renew our call for more thoughtful, vigorous action from the federal government. The outpouring of generosity and concern from spiritual and religious communities, private organizations, and individuals around the country and the world has been inspiring. At the same time, we recognize that the federal government has a unique and indispensable role to play in responding to a disaster of this magnitude and complexity. We must demand that the federal government provide the resources and leadership necessary to achieve the following four goals:
- Rebuild the Gulf Region and ensure that the people of New Orleans never again face the devastation wrought by failed levees.
- Improve the lives and the destinies of Gulf Coast residents by significantly improving the conditions found in many neighborhoods prior to Katrina. Rebuilding efforts must create real communities of opportunity that are healthy, stable, sustainable, and economically viable.
- Provide sustainable opportunities and adequate life support for displaced Gulf Coast residents and for the communities that have so generously received them.
- Bring federal resources to the Region without siphoning funds from programs that already serve people in need.
We encourage you to contact others to participate in the weekend of prayer and call to action and to consider other steps you deem appropriate to bring renewed attention to the crisis in the Gulf Coast and the plight of the people who have been impacted by the hurricanes. We encourage you to consider proactive initiatives that will hold the federal government accountable and ensure that the plight of those devastated by this disaster will not become yesterday's news. For those interested in participating, a day of action is being planned for the end of March, on which we will present a list of specific actions we believe will be required to achieve the general goals outlined above. In the coming weeks, we will circulate information about the day of action.
We will support interested organizations with information about the rebuilding effort in the Gulf Region, data about the magnitude of the devastation, contact information for other organizations that are participating in this effort and information to facilitate engagement with public officials to make your voices heard. We will assist in the coordination of media contacts to help inform the general public about the National Day of Prayer and Call to Action, and we will assist other organizations who want to publicize other events and activities in the coming weeks. A web site has been established for these purposes. Please go to www.linkedfate.org or contact us at (614) 247-6329.
The National Alliance to Restore Opportunity