“I would classify it as a nightmare.”
That’s how Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, described the violent tornadoes that swept across six southern states earlier this week. Although the storm has passed, the hurt remains, and the long rebuilding process is just getting started.
By now, many of us have seen the pictures; it’s an unspeakable tragedy. More than 300 lives have been lost. Entire neighborhoods have been wiped out. Businesses have been destroyed. People are digging through piles of rubble, trying desperately just to find an old photo, a family memento — just something to salvage from this tragedy.
While the storms impacted people of all backgrounds, they had an especially devastating affect on those who can least afford to rebuild their lives.
Take, for example, Alabama, which was hit the hardest by the storm. More than 1 in 6 people live in poverty, including 1 in 4 children, according to the Alabama Poverty Project. The state has the second largest income gap in the nation between the richest and the poorest. More than 40 percent of residents are high-school dropouts. And, it’s the second hungriest state in the nation.
Who exactly are we talking about? As the accompanying map shows, a number of the faces behind these statistics are African-American, a community that was already struggling to get by before the storm’s winds turned their lives upside down. The national unemployment rate for African-Americans is at 15.5 percent; in some areas, it’s near depression levels.
When people are out of the job, they deplete their savings, and cut back on expenses like health care and homeowners insurance — the very resources that those in the south need to pick up the pieces and rebuild there lives.
Those without these resources are left with nothing — no house, no job, no possessions, and no hope. They can’t afford to just move to another town, buy a new house and start over. They’re stuck, with no direction and seemingly with no place to turn.
That’s why we as Americans have to come together to provide both help and hope. Green For All, like many organizations, has made a plea for donations to the local organizations who are doing incredible work around the clock to help people get back on their feet. We urge you to help.
By standing with these Americans, we can help make their road to recovery smoother, and get them through these difficult hours. Together, we can help end their nightmare, and reawaken their spirit of hope.