NAACP Vows To Help Rebuild Black Communities Affected By Hurricane Harvey

By Derrick Johnson, NAACP interim President and CEO

React, assess, respond, render aid and rebuild.

Even in the midst of disaster and natural calamity, it’s important for us all to remember one intangible that makes this country one of the leading nations in the world: the ability to set aside differences, come together as one and heal.

As people were still reeling from the violent, despicable tragedy that played out in Charlottesville last month, southeast Texas was crippled by the devastating winds and flooding of Hurricane Harvey. The NAACP would like to say to the Lone Star State: You are not alone in this. We will repair, we will rebuild, we will recover — and we will do it all together.

In dealing with the disastrous aftermath of Harvey, Irma and other hurricanes still to come this season, we must draw upon the lessons we learned from Hurricane Katrina, the monstrous, infamous storm that not only decimated large parts of New Orleans but also revealed many of the challenges with disaster relief efforts.

Twelve years after Katrina first made landfall, some of the impacted communities in the Crescent City have yet to be rebuilt, and many of those individuals and families who were displaced are still a far cry away from home.

Some may have forgotten how the presidential administration at the time took upwards of five days to take action, delaying the emergency aid, care and rescue that tens of thousands of people so desperately needed. They may have also forgotten how the mainstream media depicted African-Americans in distress, portraying them as looters and criminals while routinely describing their White counterparts as helpless victims desperately trying to feed their families by any means necessary.

The images of our Black brothers and sisters—hopelessly stranded on their own rooftops or subjected to abhorrent conditions …read more