Blogging from the Gulf: 3 stories on fishing families and the oil spill

Posted: August 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gulf fisherman Willie

Since joining CitizenEffect’s Gulf fact-finding mission trip last month (called #CitizenGulf on Twitter), there are memories of certain stories, small clips of conversations, that keep coming to mind. A few in particular clarify the vulnerable ways many fishing families and Gulf residents find themselves since the oil spill. I haven’t shared them much beyond the fellow bloggers that experienced these stories too during the mission trip. There’s something tender about these specific memories that I think have caused me to shy away from talking more about them. It seems time to be more direct and open now, especially as CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action on August 25th draws near.

Story #1
A local Louisiana resident shared a conversation she had with a priest in St. Bernard’s parish. The priest had been supporting a local community center that distributed meals to fishing families. He realized the confidence and pride many of his parish shared, including one woman in particular. He hadn’t seen this woman for a while and grew concerned on her well being. Recently he saw her approach the food line for a meal. He realized then the level of need she must be facing in light of her pride and resourcefulness he’d observed in her before the oil spill.

Story #2
Another conversation involves a neighborhood where many Vietnamese fishing families live. Many stand in line at a particular community center weekly, supported by Catholic Charities of New Orleans, to collect food vouchers. There were a range of parents and children. And some local center counselors described the impact on family dynamics: children acting out from family tension and fathers, often the head of the fishing businesses, refusing to stand in food stipend lines due to hurt pride about lost means to provide family income.

Story #3
A waitress that we met in Pensacola, Florida, who raised her sons near a neighborhood beach there, said she didn’t know what to tell them (her sons) about how their cherished beach had been affected by the oil spill. She and her sons want to go back to the water but, as the waitress/mom admitted, it’s too toxic. She knows their way of life will change for her family and in her words, she: “…doesn’t want to burden her sons’ spirit by telling them the truth.”

Would you join us August 25th?
These stories are just some of the many reasons that make CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action on August 25th such a compelling event and cause.

Would you join us?
The goal on the 25th is to raise funds for children of Gulf fishing families (and their education) — with CitizenGulf funds going to Catholic Charities of New Orleans who will administer the education program. Do you know of events going on in your area? Do you want to host an event with friends or even join your local Social Media Club chapter for a community meetup – with jazz, Hurricanes, and more — all to help the future of Gulf fishing families?

Photo, Gulf fisherman-Willie, by Geoff Livingston, Creative Commons.