I recently asked you to open your hearts to the sisters and brothers of NEA in Texas who were in Hurricane Harvey’s path. Not only do the members of NEA do all we can to protect our students and provide them with the opportunities they deserve; we also reach out when our sisters and brothers need assistance. Thank you for the generous contributions you’re making to our Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
But the 2017 hurricane season has been like no other, and our nation is experiencing its second devastating storm in two weeks. Now, we are coming together to support our members in Florida. Florida Education Association members are jointly represented by NEA and AFT. We’ve combined our fund-raising efforts, and by contributing to the AFT Disaster Relief-Donation Center, you will be assisting members in Florida as well as those in the northeast Caribbean.
It’s important to keep in mind that while we’re dealing with these ravaging storms here at home, Irma devastated families, schools, and communities in the Caribbean late last week. Because our union supports public education throughout the world, the NEA has contributed to Education International. EI, for which I serve as vice president for the North America and Caribbean Region, is providing assistance through the Caribbean Union of Teachers to some of the worst-hit areas.
Irma turned its wrath on Florida over the weekend. Homes and other buildings were damaged by high winds and flooding, schools are closed in many communities, and millions of Sunshine State residents are without power and water. Meteorologists have downgraded Irma, but that does not mean it’s harmless. Irma is now a tropical storm and is moving through the southeastern United States, bringing wind and heavy rain in Alabama and Georgia that may cause serious flooding. And unbelievably, the full hurricane season continues; it does not end until November 30.
In Texas, the victims of Harvey continue to need our support on their long road to recovery. Students are returning to school but many buildings have been damaged and some are beyond repair. Our members need help as they try to rebuild their own lives and at the same time help their students and schools recover.
We are the NEA family, and I am always strengthened when I think about how much we love and support each other. We celebrate victories together, and we get through tough times together, too. To all affected members, wherever you are, whatever you’re facing: We are holding you, your students, and all of your loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.
Please visit nea.org/hurricanerelief to help and for additional information.