April 14, 2011 -- Gulf Coast fishermen and residents sponsored by the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health (www.gulfcoastfund.org ) to travel to London to attend BP's first shareholders meeting since the oil drilling disaster today have been denied entry to the meeting, despite having proxies and all necessary credentials to attend.
"We entered the meeting peacefully and presented our proxy to a BP representative, just like everyone else," states Louisisana oysterman Byron Encalade. "They asked us where we were from, and when we told them we were from Louisiana, they wouldn't let us in, even though we had the same credentials as everyone else." Encalade continues, "We've offered our hand time and time again to BP, and they continue to turn us away."
"We aren't here to cause trouble," states Tracy Kuhns, Director, Louisiana Bayoukeeper, who was also denied entry to the meeting. Kuhns continues, "We came to deliver the message that BP needs to take responsibility for the drilling disaster. The oil is not gone. Dead wildlife are washing up on our shores by the hundreds. Gulf coast residents are facing an acute health crisis as a result of exposure to BP's crude and toxic dispersant, Corexit. Entire livelihoods are in peril. Fishermen and shrimpers are concerned that the seafood is contaminated. BP must be held accountable."
Gulf residents denied entry to BP's AGM meeting:
Tracy Kuhns, Director, Louisiana Bayoukeeper; Barataria, Louisiana. A mother with 17 grandchildren, Kuhns advocates for fair recovery, seafood safety, and health care for impacted communities
Mike Roberts, Louisiana shrimper and husband of Tracy Kuhns
Bryan Parras Leader, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, (t.e.j.a.s.) and Gulf Coast Fund Advisor; Houston, TX
Byron Encalade, President, Louisiana Oystermen Association. Encalade is a leader of African-American and minority oyster fishermen
Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation fisherwoman from the Texas Gulf Coast who was to present the 2010 Black Planet award to BP in person. Wilson entered the meeting separately and was detained and ultimately arrested.
About the Gulf Coast Fund
The Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health (www.gulfcoastfund.org ) is a community-led philanthropy that provides support to over 200 grassroots organizations in the Gulf Coast build a just and sustainable future for the region.