Coast ministers to ask Obama to push for more BP claims payments

Published: Jan. 15, 2012 at 12:18 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:58 AM CST
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some Gulf Coast ministers feel their congregations haven't been fairly compensated by BP, so they're taking their disapproval of the claims process all the way to President Obama's door step.

On Friday the faith based group, Operation People For Peace, launched what it calls the "2012 Campaign Against BP" on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Radio Show.

On Saturday members were in Gulfport gathering support for a demonstration planned in Washington D.C. later this month.

Back in December, Operation People For Peace handed out food in Gulfport to help people affected by the BP oil spill. The group did the same in communities across the Gulf Coast.

"We tried to feed the people that was in need because that's what's needed in this area," said Rev. Al Rocker of Operation People For Peace. "We took 14,000 pounds of food, and we did the best we can. And the message is to tell BP that we need to send out more food to these people."

Now the organization is again traveling through Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. This time asking Gulf Coast ministers to sign a petition on behalf of people whose jobs went away after the oil spill. Pastors say many who were laid off haven't been able to find new employment and are struggling to feed their families.

"We will have all our ministers, over 400 over of them will sign this scroll within a period of a week and a half to two weeks," Rev. Rocker said. "We are anticipating carrying that scroll to Washington DC and it will probably be about a block and a half long."

Operation People For Peace leaders said their fight for fair payment of claims has taken them all the way to BP headquarters in Europe, and they're not about to give up now.

"There are two presidents involved in resolving this issue of the Gulf Coast. The president of BP whom has not done anything, and the president of the United States who recommended Ken Feinberg to be the czar over the $21 Billion," Rev. Rocker said. "We're going to ask him in some way or fashion if he could ask them to consider and look at the issues of the under-served and the under-represented."

Rev. Benjamin Simpson from Cornerstone Baptist Church in Long Beach was one of the ministers who signed. He said people are looking to the church for leadership in their time of need.

"First we've got to be able to show our community that we care," said Rev. Simpson. "We cannot help them unless they know that we care."

Leaders of Operation People For Peace say they hope to make the trip to Washington D.C. around the end of this month.

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