WASHINGTON – This week, the NAACP, in partnership with the American Red Cross, announced the launch of ‘Restore Florida, A Community Resilience Initiative.’ This disaster relief community engagement and canvassing effort seeks to identify and subsequently support the outstanding needs of residents who were impacted by Hurricane Ian. The Restore Florida initiative will empower the work of NAACP Florida State Conference President, Adora Nweze, NAACP Volusia County Branch President, Cynthia Slater, and NAACP Orange County Branch President, Kran Riley, as they continue to support their communities with ongoing disaster response efforts and develop new, innovative solutions to increase disaster resilience for Black Floridians.
“The NAACP has long led the fight to advance equity at the intersection of environmental issues and civil rights. Over a year since Hurricane Ian, the Gulf Coast community is still recovering from the devastation,” said Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors and Florida resident. “We are proud to partner with the American Red Cross to launch our ‘Restore Florida’ initiative. This innovative partnership will allow us to continue supporting our communities on the frontlines of environmental disasters while gaining the knowledge and tools necessary to develop climate action planning and increase resilience for residents. The NAACP looks forward to making progress on eradicating climate injustice through the continued cultivation of meaningful partnerships with disaster recovery and resilience experts. This is just the beginning.”
Over the past six seasons, the Gulf Coast has suffered six hurricanes at category four or higher. Because of its unique geography, Florida is increasingly susceptible to flooding, hurricane-force winds, and sea-level rise. When disaster strikes, disenfranchised Florida communities are at greater risk from hazards caused by these climate catastrophes than others.
“Our communities continue to bear the brunt of long-lasting effects as a result of Florida’s climate crisis,” said Adora Obi Nweze, President of the NAACP Florida State Conference.”As the frequency of extreme weather events increases and elected officials have not prioritized the needs of our community, our ability to recover is severely diminished. Following Hurricane Ian, post-disaster recovery left many Black Floridians at greater risk of suffering from long-term hazards. The NAACP Florida State Conference looks forward to engaging with the American Red Cross to advance our continued work to ensure that Black Floridians receive the resources and support they need and deserve.”
The ‘Restore Florida, A Community Resilience Initiative’ will entail:
- Surveying and assessing community needs through canvassing efforts.
- Leveraging canvassing data and insights from the community to provide assistance and resource referrals to other Red Cross partners with a focus on mental health and employment.
“We are proud to be partnering with the NAACP to launch the ‘Restore Florida’ initiative. Everyone has a role to play in helping a community recover from a disaster, from community organizations and nonprofits, to government partners and beyond,” said Robert Sofaly, Long-Term Recovery Director with the American Red Cross. “Together, we can build resiliency within the communities that need it most – those affected by disasters over and over again – and listen and learn through canvasing to deliver solutions that truly meet their needs.”
For more information on the NAACP’s partnership with the American Red Cross, visit our website.