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Friday, July 24, 2009

GATHERING OF HEARTS - UPDATE

Rev. Al Sampson outside Brown Family Home in Lambert, Mississippi

New Orleans City Council recognizes Gathering of Hearts work in the Mississippi Delta (follow link to recent You Tube video). This is public recognition of true grassroots organizing in action. Co-founder Antoinette Harrell and Photographer Walter Black were present to be honored honored along with a host of other associated volunteers from New Orleans who have joined in and assisted in relief work in the Mississippi Delta - both in Louisiana and Mississippi. The video includes photos of co-founder Ines Soto Palmarin and other Gathering of Hearts members and associated volunteers who have made the improvement of living conditions in the Delta a priority in their otherwise busy lives.

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing shelter for the homeless -- this is all basic stuff which we can do together as Americans. What makes Gathering of Hearts unique is that we are willing to work with anyone - regardless of religious (or not), political or social group persuasion to achieve immediate and urgent goals as they are presented to us. Yes, we can "just get along" to attend to matters more important than our petty differences.

Ending 21st Century Slavery is one of those goals which we hope to fulfill before the turn of the next Century. Antoinette has also been tireless in exposing ongoing slavery and peonage in the Delta, as well as documenting Governmental awareness of (and inaction around) slavery and peonage in the 20th Century.

Take some time to peruse the Gathering of Hearts You Tube Videos one by one - at your leisure and see what has been accomplished in our short life as an organization. Still waiting on that traditional website - but with a shoestring budget, the needs of the suffering on the Delta come first.

We have seen the town of Lambert Mississippi unite to move the Brown family to temporary (and habitable) housing, while their former residence (shown above) is being torn down and replaced. A bit of organization and a ton of cooperation from all over has already made a difference.

Gathering of Hearts volunteers here in California are planning a trip to Glendora, Mississippi with boxes of clothing, tools and medical equipment donated by generous folks out here - to coincide with an August 28 benefit concert for a new basketball court (spearheaded by Rev. Al Sampson - pictured above) and back-to-school items for the youths of Glendora.

While some Americans feel compelled to squeeze and enslave their fellow citizens, it is refreshing and encouraging to find a Gathering of Hearts of those willing to set aside their personal comfort and entertainment to reach out to those most in need.

If you would like to help, contact Antoinette Harrell via the You Tube site - or yours truly via this blog.

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