Thursday, June 21, 2007



For Immediate Release
June 20, 2007 - New Orleans, LA

Monique Harden, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, 504.919.4590
Kimberley Richards, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, 504.722.3213
Gwen Richardson, Ashé Cultural Center, 504.931.6431

People’s Freedom Caravan to Arrive in New Orleans
Local Groups Join the Drive to Overcome the Democracy Divide

The People's Freedom Caravan is a social forum on wheels coming to New Orleans on June 25, 2007 en route to the first US Social Forum taking place in Atlanta, GA from June 27-July 1. In the spirit of the Freedom Rides during the civil rights movement, the People’s Freedom Caravan serves as a catalyst for positive change in the United States, where the growing gap between the rich and poor further marginalizes communities of color and emboldens government-private partnerships that are hostile to democratic freedoms and human rights.

More than 200 Caravan riders coming from New Mexico, Texas, and southwest Louisiana will join people in New Orleans and the Gulf region who are struggling against a tide of government-sponsored privatization schemes in order to hold on to and rebuild their communities. Through solidarity stops in communities throughout the southern region, the People’s Freedom Caravan brings together diverse people who are all affected by the changing economy and globalization that has created a democracy divide. More than 150 people from New Orleans will join the People’s Freedom Caravan to the US Social Forum, where they will participate in numerous activities and events to envision and build a united movement for justice in the United States.

Schedule of Events

7:30 am: People’s Freedom Caravan riders and local activists converge on Congo Square. Some will meet with residents of the CJ Peete and Florida/Desire Housing Developments, and then travel to the developments to clean up the grounds. Others will meet with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and then travel to a day laborers’ gathering site to discuss issues facing day laborers.

9:00 am: Some Caravan riders will go on a bus tour of flood damaged neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. Other Caravan riders will go on a walking tour of the Treme neighborhood led by community activists.

9:00 am - Noon: Story Circles - The Truth Be Told Project, a collaboration between Ashé Cultural Center, Contemporary Art Center and an extensive network of community-based groups in New Orleans.

Begun in September 2006, “TBT” is a multi-year, collaborative effort to use theater, storytelling and improvisation to open conversations in our communities around race and racism. Our goal is give people the opportunity to speak out more about race, affect people’s ability to respond to others who express racism and to increase people’s ability to explore and process issues around race and racism in a group of more than two people. While we work through the dynamics within the core group, we will develop, refine and publish a toolbox of proven practices that can be passed on to many others. Over the next 2 years, TBT Co-Artistic Directors John O’Neal (Junebug Productions) and John Grimsley (Dog & Pony Theatre Company), along with a core group of local activists, educators and artists, and the staff of the two sponsoring organizations, plan an ambitious calendar of original theater productions, publications, community workshops and trainings --- all focused on race and racism. If you or your community group would like to become involved in the Truth Be Told Project, please contact Tammy Terrell at 504.569.9070.

Noon – 1:00 pm: Unity Circle, Lunch, Cultural Sharing Program featuring: Ashè Drum Circle, Lloyd Daly- Keyboard, New Orleans Renaissance Society-Spoken Word, and Zion Trinity- Vocals.

1:00pm -1:30pm: Press Conference

1:30pm - 2:45pm: Cultural Sharing continues with a 2:00pm performance by the James Andrews All Star Brass Band with a Second Line escorting the visitors to their buses for a 3:00pm departure from New Orleans.

4:00 – 6:00 pm: Solidarity Stop in Slidell, LA The Slidell community will host a solidarity gathering at the site of a church destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

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