From The Grio –I remember Hurricane Katrina.
Fortunately, I remembered it from a distance sitting in a New York City office with my eyes
glued to the lobby TV. I felt sick and powerless. Less than four years earlier, I called New Orleans home for a summer. My counted blessings were all the (lifelong) friendships I developed and the special relationship I had with the NO. All I could think about were my friends and their families. I thought about Xavier University, I thought about Painters Street, I thought about every individual I came across and the spirit of love I experienced there. I thought about how fortunate I and many of us in the Northeast were for being spared that time around.
Fast forward to this weekend, I find myself sitting in a room halfway across the world in India, closely monitoring my twitter feed of friends and family, refreshing US weather and news sites and reviewing Weather HD on my iPad, I felt the same sense of powerlessness. My skype account was in full use as I kept the phone ringing trying to ensure my family and friends were well.
Early on, I realized in more ways than one, we were well prepared. I was refreshed by the
live around the clock twitter updates of Mayor Cory Booker about efforts to address Newark’s needs in the midst of the storm. I was refreshed by NYC’s proactive closings and the many who actually took heed of the lessons of years past. Unfortunately, my sentiment was short-lived.
As Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm, I equally saw a storm of comments across every social media platform of “disappointment” about the weakness of the storm and how let down many felt. In parallel, I read the story of the 12 deaths, the one lady who called but passed in her car, the elderly up all night pumping water from their basement, with buckets to limit the damage of ceiling leaks, the nearly half million in NC without power and additional 100K in theDMV, and all of this…and counting….