Roqayah is off this week, so Kumars is joined from the top of the hour by two organizers with the Southwest Louisiana chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America: Phil Peterson, an activist, organizer, and educator based in Lake Charles Louisiana, and Megan Romer, also an organizer, writer, and educator based in the neighboring city of Lafayette, Louisiana. After introducing listeners to their communities and their personal paths to organizing, Phil and Megan describe the devastation on the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Laura as DSA SWLA and allied groups like Mutual Aid Disaster Relief continue their recovery efforts despite a lack of interest from national media.
Phil discusses his experience of being displaced by the storm and the significance of Louisiana activists as innovators at the vanguard of climate struggle, and Megan explains the key lessons we can learn from DSA SWLA about organizing during a pandemic, along with the convoluted local politics behind the city of Lafayette’s refusal to accept refugees from Lake Charles in the aftermath of the police killing of 31-year-old Trayford Pellegrin on August 21. The gang highlights the willful abdication of responsibility by Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and the dire implications of local authorities’ decision to lift mandatory evacuation orders for the majority-black, heavily working class people of Lake Charles and the surrounding area, over 10,000 of whom are now forced by FEMA to pay out of pocket to subsidize New Orleans’s otherwise failing hotels.
You can follow Phil on Twitter @Sadsackjacobin and Megan @meganromer. To keep abreast of Southwest Louisiana DSA’s activities and to check for updates on how you can help, follow them on Twitter as well @DSASWLA, and donate to their GoFundMe here.
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