Advocates: BP Is Allowing Blacks to Suffer

Operation People for Peace sent a delegation to the U.K. to demand oil-spill compensation for African Americans in the Gulf of Mexico.  

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The Operation People for Peace delegation in London (the Voice)

Operation People for Peace wants BP to pay out $488 million to compensate the citizens whose lives have been ruined by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Representatives went to the company's London headquarters to deliver that message this month, the United Kingdom's Voice reports.

The campaign has submitted more than 10,000 claims and says there are many others who have lost their jobs, income and customers as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On Aug. 3, leaders protested outside BP's headquarters in London on behalf of the mostly black small businesses, churches and hoteliers they represent.

The oil spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, devastating the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. After the U.S. government found that the British firm was responsible for the spillage, BP set up a compensation fund for victims. But the campaigners say the most vulnerable and disenfranchised claimants are being overlooked in favor of those with political connections, who have been generously compensated.

Civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, a member of Operation People for Peace, said: "Kenneth Feinberg, a representative of BP who has been allotted $20 billion to settle the claims for damage caused by the BP oil spill, has done nothing to ease the pain of the poor and underserved. He has done nothing but make false promises of payment. I have come to the conclusion that his job is simply to block payments to poor people, not to settle them."

Louisiana is home to the second-biggest African-American population in the United States after Mississippi. Its beaches and those who depend on them for their livelihoods are still suffering the consequences. It appears that documenting the extent of the ongoing effect on human lives will depend on the work of advocates who refuse to let BP off the hook for its devastating mistakes.

Read more at the Voice.

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