Hurricane Harvey vs Charlottesville Rally

The past couple of days have been terrifying for those of us who have family and friends in Houston . As a former Houstonian, I still have ties in this great city where I attended Culinary school and lived for a few years. When I heard the news that hurricane Harvey was headed for the ” lone star” state, I started to pray that everyone will be ok. People were told to evacuate and get their emergency supplies to prepare for this deadly storm.

Thankfully all of my friends are ok, but the city is not. The damage is unbelievable. Like you, I saw the visuals of this catastrophe via television and social media. It was heartbreaking to see people lose their family members and property and literally run for their lives. It did not matter what race, color creed or class, everyone was running. People were asked to grab their most valuable possessions (if they had time) and leave their homes behind in a matter of minutes. I am enormously grateful to the Red Cross, FEMA, volunteers and everyone who risked their lives to save others.

I have not seen this level of humanity and empathy since 9/11 perhaps. The difference is that was man made, and hate based, hurricane Harvey was natural. And for me it was more than a disaster, it was a warning; a wake up call. Americans spent weeks portraying and glorying hate prior to and after the Charlottesville rally. People were declaring race supremacy and all kinds of ridiculous ideas. I did not see these people matching to help the people of Houston during or after. Hurricane Harvey was a reminder that despite our race and how much money we have in the bank, one natural disaster can take it all away, in a matter of seconds.

I saw blacks carrying whites, whites carrying latinos and vice versa. No time for race supremacy just survival. People had to leave their million dollar homes or their homes in less desirable neighborhoods and run for shelter. It did not matter who was superior to who, they all had something in common at that moment, survival.

What has happened in Houston and the level of humanitarianism demonstrated by Houstonians and others who flew in to assist is what America is all about. This is what makes America great; the people. Just seeing people of all races risk their lives to save others; open up their businesses as shelter; open their kitchens to feed those in need; that is what makes America great.

I know there are some people reading this article that would never get it, as racial and social prejudice are planted in your DNA. I decided a long time ago I would not be like you. My only wish for you is that you do not experience a disaster like hurricane Harvey , where everything is taken from you in an instant, before you wake up.

I was starting to lose hope after the Charlottesville rally, after witnessing politicians in this country support hate. Hate has no place on either side of the aisle. What would make America greater is when people of all races come together and work harder, respect each other and stop trying to protect their turf, “their blackness or their whiteness”. They should just have to protect humanity.

So when hurricane Harvey made landfall people had no time to enquirer whether the person rescuing them was an illegal alien #undocumented, or whether they had a confederate flag at their home that was washing away; or whether that person was too white, too black or too brown to save them. In that moment seen from the visuals all that mattered was survival. Lesson learnt.

America you have two choices, you can buy into the hate perpetuated by you culture and politicians or you can recognize that after yet another natural disaster, you are greater and stronger than you thought. Recognize that all that really matters is survival; not race or color. We are all in the same game trying to provide for and protect our families.

On a daily basis in this country some people’s lives are ended prematurely because of racial discrimination; all lives can be ended prematurely because natural disasters don’t discriminate. Think about that and make your choice about the kind of America you would like to live in. Is it the sentiments of Charlottesville or is it the compassionate and humanitarian atmosphere of Houston.


Your choice

Houston during Harvey

P.S. Thank you for reading and please share. Remember to donate to recognized and legitimate charities to help the people of Houston. It could have been you. Natural disasters don’t care about your race or color😡.

Basia Powell


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