CBC Member Says Minority Communities Need Help With Disaster Preparation
Legislation proposed for federal research program with HBCU involvement
Historically Black colleges and universities may have a vital role to play in helping minority communities prepare for weather emergencies and other hazards, a Congressional Black Caucus member says.
Persons of color are 2 ½ times more likely than other Americans to face the effects of emergencies such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and deadly storms, according to Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., citing data from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
“We must do more to help those who need it,” says Bishop, proposing a federal research program with involvement from historically Black colleges and universities.
So far, the bill has attracted 25 co-sponsors, including Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, who is CBC chairwoman; as well as Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, and Cynthia
The proposed minority emergency preparedness demonstration program would include efforts to research existing disaster response programs in African American and Hispanic communities, particularly in states most affected by such events. Funds also would support the development of disaster preparedness education programs in these communities, including the use of culturally relevant educational materials.
Among other goals, the project would offer “practical guidance” on how to protect families and communities against natural disasters, Bishop says.
The program would be open to nonprofits serving minority communities, which in turn would create partnerships with HBCUs, Hispanic-serving colleges and faith-based organizations to carry out programs. The bill, H.R. 2562, authorizes $1.5 million for grants in 2002 and additional sums in five future years. For more information, contact Bishop’s office at (202) 225-3631.
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