*Black Americans were already in the midst of two disasters this year – the disproportionate toll of the COVID-19 pandemic and a spate of horrifying incidents of police brutality — when fire season in California started early. Wildfires have burned over 3.1 million acres in California since the beginning of the year, breaking the record for the deadliest year of wildfires in the state, according to CalFire.
Though Black communities are disproportionately vulnerable to and impacted by disasters, Black households are less likely to be prepared for disasters than White households, according to the NAACP.
This September, which is Emergency Preparedness Month, some Black activists as well as community-based organizations have been partnering with Listos California, an emergency preparedness campaign anchored in the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). These partnerships are aimed at getting the word out about emergency preparedness to diverse communities through more accessible and impactful means, such as artwork and person-to-person conversation.
“Listos California awarded $50 million in local assistance grants to non-profit organizations throughout the state to build resiliency in vulnerable communities and connect residents to culturally and linguistically competent support — a whole community approach that fosters critical networks that can save lives. This month, I urge all Californians to learn about how they can help keep their loved ones and communities safe during an emergency,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in his declaration for Emergency Preparedness Month.
For Aliyah Sidqe, a Sacramento-based artist who depicts Black life in America, it’s important for the Black community to be prepared to fend for themselves, she says, in an emergency situation.
“The Black community is already subject to a lot, and we’re not thought about all the time. It’s important for us to take matters into our own hands and really be prepared for what’s to come because sometimes we’re not considered in the game plan as far as what the world needs to do,” Sidqe said.
According to a poll of California residents living in zip codes at risk of floods, wildfires or earthquakes, conducted by EMC Research, 88 % of vulnerable residents agree that preparing for a disaster is important. However, those respondents admitted to not taking action to prepare because they think doing so is scary (63%), expensive (61%) or time-consuming (54%).
“I think a portion of people don’t take certain things seriously, or they’re not really thinking about all that is going on right now. It’s easier just to kind of push that to the back of your mind. But I think the fact that we’re already marginalized makes it super important for us to really be ready to take care of ourselves and be prepared for anything,” Sidqe said.
Since partnering with Listos California, Sidqe has started conversations with family members and friends about what they would do during emergencies.
“Before I really had’t thought too much about it, but it did kind of spark that, for my partner and me — conversations like where would we go if we did have to evacuate. Actually, in our area, there was a fire really close to us and a few neighborhoods had to evacuate. So, we did put a plan in place of where we would go in case that would happen.”
The Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, a nonprofit serving youth in San Bernardino County, has been sharing information about emergency preparedness alongside their ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. During their relief events, which include twice-a-month drive-thru distribution of essential items, CEO Terrance Stone and the Young Visionaries staff inform community members about the importance of being prepared.
“I’ve been introducing the program like this: I always ask if somebody came and knocked at your door right now, and told you that you have five minutes to pack your necessities and go, are you going to be able to get what you need within those five minutes? It’s an eye opener for everybody, because then they’re like, wait, like what do I actually need,” said Jennifer Rosales, Administrative Assistant at Young Visionaries.
“I tell everybody, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to go out and spend $200, $300 to try to get a go–bag or a ready bag. I think the number one thing is this: Just look at your basic needs, something that you need every day, and then just start that way. It’s important to know that it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to keep your family and your friends safe,” said Rosales.
El Sol Neighborhood Education Center is coordinating outreach activities with 11 community groups from different parts of San Bernardino County.
“We have developed specific strategies to target specific communities. We have to bring cultural brokers or cultural speakers so that they understand the language, the culture and the lived experiences of each target community. We partner with agencies and churches — African American, Asian American, Latino and Native American partners. Each group knows how to best reach the people in their own communities”, says Alex Fajardo, El Sol’s executive director.
The Listos California website has Disaster Ready Guides in multiple languages if readers want to know more about what to have prepared for an emergency.
source: Quinci LeGardye | California Black Media
Misty Copeland: Ballet is Listening after George Floyd
*Ballerina Misty Copeland says her profession has to evolve along with the world’s racial reckoning or else it will cease to exist.
“As the world is changing, as it grows more diverse, if the ballet world doesn’t evolve with it, then it’s going to die,” Copeland told reporter Jenna Adae.
The first black woman to become the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre said that after George Floyd’s death and the focus on Black Lives Matter, for the first time in her 20-year career, people are starting to believe her when she says the lack of diversity within the global ballet industry is a problem.
“There’s so many communities that are not going to support an art form that they feel doesn’t want them to be a part of it,” she says.
Watch her full interview below or HERE.
Georgia Voter Removed From Poll Line for Wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ Shirt (Watch)
*It should be no surprise that in Forsyth County, Georgia, a man wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt to his local polling place was pulled out of the early voting line.
“When the poll worker stopped me in line, I was really kind of shocked, but I thought alright here we go, so I pulled out my phone and started recording,” explains Zach Arias.
The poll worker told Arias that his BLM attire violated a law that forbids candidate campaign material beyond a certain point.
“Black Lives Matter is not on the ballot, it’s not a party, it’s not a slogan of any person on the ballot so I was well within my rights to wear my shirt,” Arias said.
In 1987, Oprah Winfrey famously took her show to Forsythe County, where no Black person had lived for 75 years. She wanted to hear out the county’s white residents, some of whom argued they should be able to keep blacks from moving into their communities.
BLM Co-Founder Alicia Garza is Target of Planned Attack by Idaho White Supremacist
*Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza was the target of a hate-fueled attack planned by a white supremacist in Idaho.
Garza’s name was reportedly on a long list of activists and political leaders that was found at the home of the man who the FBI apprehended earlier this month.
“The FBI visited my house today. They arrested a man in Idaho on weapons charges who they believe was affiliated with white supremacist groups. They found my name on a list in his home, alongside others,” she tweeted.
“This is why this president is so dangerous. He is stoking fires he has no intention of controlling.”
More of this needs to be told. Again, your President and his people are putting our lives in danger. Meanwhile, they fail to hold accountable people who are ACTUALLY committing terrorist acts. https://t.co/8wSD7Okic8
— Alicia Garza (@aliciagarza) October 23, 2020
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, President Donald Trump has been accused of encouraging racist attacks. He even made reference to the white supreacist group Proud Boys during a debate with Joe Biden.
“Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by,” he said when asked to denounce white supremacy.
“I’m ok, y’all, but this shit is not ok. Vote this muthaf—– out. For real,” Garza tweeted.
Meanwhile, Garza’s soon-to-be released book, “The Purpose of Power,” details her path to activism. During an interview with “Sunday Morning” contributor Mark Whitaker about her book, she was asked about criticism that Black Lives Matter is simply a social media movement.
Garza responded, “The story of movements is not about how many people follow you on social media. It’s about how many people will step forward. And you can have a million followers on Twitter and not get one person to step forward and take action!”
“So, is the leader or the founder of one of the most famous social media movements of the modern era telling us that social media isn’t everything?” asked Whitaker.
“Well, I can tell you, as the founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which is now considered to be the largest protest movement in history, that hashtags do not start movements. People do.”
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