The Disaster Justice Network (DJN) is a volunteer network lending support to share critical information that is not easily accessed for the Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta recovery processes. The network includes community leaders, faith leaders, advocates, activists, practitioners, researchers, and students weaving together environmental justice and disaster expertise to develop strategies that address the inequitable access to disaster response and recovery efforts and to advocate for a justice-oriented recovery process.
Through the generosity of time and commitment individuals and organizations are sharing resources and expertise that can avoid usual pitfalls in disaster recovery and help find healthy safe alternatives. Using baseline public, social and environmental health information from organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we know where pre-existing issues were hardest felt by families and communities. Addressing the pre-existing problems as well as building back from the storm’s devastation, we can build a blessed community future that is safer and healthier for all and we can do that through the cooperation and mutual care of the present.
There are many students who are volunteering their time and expertise to respond to the multiple disasters. They are committed first by their heart and passion for justice in disaster recovery, as well as to learn and enhance their knowledge as they enter into professions connected with hazards and disaster response. Their amazing work is helping to find solutions and/or resources for the people on the ground to have safe water, housing, legal assistance, clean air, housing, emergency resources, and long-term recovery strategies.
We commend the work of this next generation of leaders and give heartfelt gratitude that they are giving of their time to this effort as they are pursuing full-time higher education programs or non-profit careers. We are all learning together as we address this horrific situation complicated so greatly by a pandemic. Through mutual dedication, imagination, and hard work, may we find new ways forward for a healthy, resiliency-building just recovery. We are committed to a justice-focused recovery process together!
Currently a team of people representing a multiple range of talents are gathering resources and information. As communities, congregations and families are making plans for their recovery, the resource teams stand by to be interactive and inclusive of involvement from interested people of the region. This is a long term marathon, not a sprint. Some things can be solved quickly while others, especially those that have had long term underlying problems, will take longer to address. Our goal is to have healthy people, healthy water, homes, neighborhoods, schools, jobs and a future that includes all people. By reimagining our future to what we want, we can bring our region up in standing in all aspects of public wellbeing. Let’s do it.
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