*Washington, DC – Three weeks after protesting outside British Petroleum (BP) headquarters in London, Dick Gregory, Art Rocker and a delegation of other leading activists will protest outside the office of Ken Feinberg, administrator of the oil giant’s $20 billion compensation fund for victims of its historic Gulf Coast oil spill.
The protest is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday (09-02-11) in front of Feinberg’s Washington office at 1455 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
More than a year after the biggest oil spill in U.S. history ravaged the Gulf Coast region, Feinberg has yet to uphold his promise to respond to claimants. Gregory and Rocker are demanding to know when he plans to resolve more than 10,000 claims by poor and underserved citizens through a proposed settlement totaling $488 million.
Gregory, a renowned comedian known for breaking down color barriers during the 1960s has been a champion of civil rights in America and abroad for decades. Rocker, a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is the founder of Operation People for Peace (OPP), a multicultural organization whose goal is to ensure that small business owners, minorities and the poor in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are compensated for the damages inflicted by the oil disaster. They will be joined by, among others, Dr. E. Faye Williams, chair of the National Congress of Black Women, and Prichard, AL Police Chief Jimmie Gardner.
“BP has allowed this group of poor and small business owners to suffer in the Gulf Coast region rather than pay their legitimate claims,” Rocker said. “These people are not politically connected, so their claims have not been paid. Eleven people died in this incident and a total of 1.6 million jobs have been lost, yet BP refuses to answer the needs of minorities and children whose parents have been impacted, and (who) continue to be impacted and disenfranchised.”
Rocker and other activists have been pressing BP on the compensation delay for months. Besides the recent protest in London — where officials refused a meeting — he led a protest in March outside BP’s office in Houma, LA. Overall, Rocker’s organization has met with Feinberg and officials more than a dozen times, leaving with nothing more than promises.
Gregory, equally outraged by BP’s lack of urgency in helping to restore the lives of Gulf Coast residents, has vowed to go to jail, fast for 30 days and to orchestrate a major boycott of the oil company during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“BP ain’t seen nothing yet,” Gregory said. “We are coming to Ken Feinberg’s office to let him know that we will not continue to sit idle while receiving nothing for the underserved and poor people. Then, we will return to London, England to echo the fact that BP does not need to be the sponsor for the 2012 Olympics while refusing to pay the claims of the poor.”
Jerry Thomas Public Relations