After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of New Orleans residents found that they had no way of returning home. Rebuilding efforts were slow, some areas were simply abandoned, and the Lower Ninth Ward was even going to be turned into wetlands. But Stephen Bradberry would not let this stand. Together with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, he founded the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign, a partnership of organizations working to help rebuild neighborhoods, create living wage jobs, and return New Orleans residents to their homes. With his help, grassroots networks managed to turn the city’s planning process around, even turning the Lower Ninth Ward into a pilot program for the rebuilding process. The 2005 RFK Human Rights Award Winner recognized that community organizing could empower marginalized communities to have a say in the rebuilding process.
Bradberry continues to be a voice for the voiceless, and RFK Human Rights is proud to continue a partnership that is still helping the most disadvantaged New Orleans residents rebuild their city and lives. “Receiving the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award has lifted the profile of myself and my work,” says Bradberry. “As a result, I am able to bring the voice of those I work with to venues where they might not otherwise be heard.”