Press Release: Three weeks after protesting outside British Petroleum (BP) headquarters in London, England, Dick Gregory, Art Rocker, Dr. E. Faye Williams, Jimmie Gardner (Prichard, AL) 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 will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, September 2, 2011 in front of Feinberg’s office at 1455 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. in Washington, DC. A press conference will be held at 10 a.m. at the same location.
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, Rocker and Williams are demanding to know when Feinberg plans to resolve more than 10,000 plus claims by poor and underserved citizens through a proposed settlement for a minimum of $488 million.
Gregory, a renowned comedian known for breaking down color barriers during the 1960s, has been a champion of civil and human 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, 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. Williams is National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. They will be joined by others.
Rocker said, “BP has allowed this group of poor and small business owners to suffer in the Gulf Coast region rather than pay their legitimate claims. These people are not politically well 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 said, “BP ain’t seen nothing yet. We are going to Ken Feinberg’s office to let him know that we will not continue to sit idly by while receiving nothing for the underserved and poor people. We will return to London, England to echo the fact that BP should not be a leader sponsor for the 2012 Olympics while refusing to pay the claims of the poor.”