the wake of dangerous tornadoes that tore through the South, one town
epitomizes all that should concern us about relief efforts in the Black
Communities throughout this nation and the world. That town is
Louisville (pronounced Lewisville), Mississippi.
scant news reports, Louisville was hit by the brunt of the storms, with
10 out of the 35 people reported dead being in and around Louisville.
Louisville is a town of 6, 600 people of whom nearly 53% are Black and
nearly a third of the residents live below the poverty level. The
tragedy will be ongoing for years to come, but because Louisville is off
the beaten track, help will be slow coming. Fortunately, through the
collaborative work of NABSW and other affinity groups, FEMA is more
responsive to the needs of Black Communities and is already doing its
work. But government can only do so much.
to reports hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. The town’s
medical center was severely damaged and people were diverted to
Starkville, 70 miles away for treatment. Jackson is 90 miles to the
west. We are all aware of treatment services, in rural communities are
dependent upon transportation and for the poor such transportation, in
emergencies, is non-existent. Because of the rampant poverty, home
ownership is low and when their dwellings were destroyed, all that the
people possess are also gone. Most of the residents are literally
starting from nothing and are devastated, every possible way.
What NABSW can do? We need to help by donating
our experiences in Alabama, two years ago and recently in Sandy, we
have found two ways that we can assist. Generally, if we have a chapter
in the affected area, many of our members volunteer to deliver
counseling services to survivors. In addition to counseling, NABSW
members provided information and referral services for their brothers,
sisters and families in need. Such services like this are severely
needed and we will need to strategize as to whether we can get that
level of involvement.
the situation in Louisville, cash donations, will be essential. Though
FEMA is there, a people who have lost everything, have no money and now
lack the means because of destroyed businesses, even to work, cannot be
totally reliant upon government. Our experience is to distribute $25 -
$50 Walmart gift cards to the most needy and working through the local
Black leaders, we can do this. We are asking, chapters and individuals
to donate to this effort. Monetary donations, specifically designated
for Louisville, will be collected at our National Office and gifts cards
will be purchased to be distributed to Louisville residents. DONATE NOW!