“In the days since Harvey made landfall in Texas, the storm has slammed the region with more than 50 inches of rain. The local National Weather Service office put this number in context Tuesday by noting that such estimates potentially mark the ‘largest flood in Houston-Galveston history.’ … While rescue operations and the distribution of supplies to displaced residents remain the dual focus of Harvey-impacted areas in the U.S., discussions regarding a path forward for residents and a timeline for recovery have begun.
… the National Weather Service called the event ‘unprecedented’. … Warm water, meteorologist Jeff Masters explained to PBS, was an early contributing factor. ‘The hotter the water, the more energy it drives into a storm,’ Masters explained. As for why Harvey seemed to remain stalled over Texas, Masters said that’s a result of two different high-pressure systems attempting to push the storm in separate directions but ultimately ‘canceling each other out.’ (emphasis mine)” – Here’s What Happened with Hurricane Harvey So Far, and What We Can Expect by Trace William Cowen
Brandon, MS – I am writing this first post from near Jackson MS in a special series of blog entries focused on my experience as a relief supporter for the Hurricane Harvey disaster response. The reason me and our company Atlanta Food & Farm PBC (AF2) is involved with this effort has everything to do with our current Finance Principal and my social activism comrade Bobby Rodrigo. Much like
the storm that we are in the process of responding to, Bobby is a force of nature when it comes to humanitarianism and social justice. Once he has decided to make a response to something, little can stand in his way as he galvanizes impressive resources and aggressively recruits folks to become involved. Inasmuch as we are linked at the hip right now professionally through our partnership in business, I was an early target and quickly found myself making space in my life for something that seems too big for most of us to muster a response.
It’s not that I didn’t care about Houston or wasn’t independently moved by the developing crisis there as nature seemed to attack this major metropolis of Texas. As I posted in Facebook recently, the city was my home from much of a 1993-1999 period of time during essentially the bulk of my 20’s. I have a faith family within the Houston branch of the Shrines of the Black Madonna of the Pan-African Orthodox Christian Church with many loved ones as members, in addition to a network of dear friends throughout the H-Town community. While I have been involved with agriculture since my freshman year at Tuskegee University in 1989, I actually became an urban farmer under the tutelage of my mentor & Urban Harvest founder Dr. Bob Randall. I married for the first time in Houston and essentially became a man there. For these reasons & so many more, this southeastern Texas town still has my heart.
However, I would not likely have known or had a way to act on any feelings of obligation to help without Bobby. From what seemed like the moment the storm hit, he joined operations with a volunteer app-based dispatch operation which connects first responder groups like the Cajun Navy and official emergency personnel in Houston with people in need of rescue. He has been on the phone constantly since then helping to save actual lives, through the use of this technology and innovative cooperation among volunteer groups. At the same time, he tasked me as a food expert to figure out how to feed people in Houston and lead the effort to do so. I have done the best with my assignment that I know how, making connections for him with my local food and urban agriculture contacts in Houston as well as potential operations staging partners like my home church and its local pastor Rev. Aswad Walker. As an veteran leader, I know full well the importance of being a good follower when necessary. Anything you see me do in response to Harvey is at the behest of and in subordination to Mr. Rodrigo, my friend and “drum major for justice” in the best traditions of civil or human rights leaders in history.
As we journey to southeast Texas, Bobby and the We Do Better organization have assembled respectable resources to offer our fellow human beings in distress there. Bobby has secured a large refrigerated truck and filled it with relevant equipment, medicines, and supplies (i.e. bottled water, foodstuffs, outdoors gear, etc). In addition, we have a commercial meat smoker pulled on a trailer that is capable of preparing huge amounts of meats for hungry Houstonians. Once on site in the city, we will need additional logistical support of funding and supply chains to sustain operations on the ground. Even now during the journey there, support is required to cover expenses beyond what we have been able to muster ourselves.
The word “responsibility” can be broken down into its component parts to be defined as the “ability” to “respond”. Through the grace of God and our own decisions to live as entrepreneurial revolutionaries, Bobby and I along with a new comrade of mine who goes simply by Coach are putting our bodies and treasure on the line because we have made choices in life that give us the ability to respond to this emergency. I encourage you to use your ability as a human to respond as well and support an organization doing work in Houston or make a deposit donation to Atlanta Food & Farm PBC in our Bank of America account (#334050176742) at a branch near you. While we have PayPal (kwabena@AF2.farm) and Square Cash ($KwabenaNkromo) accounts as alternatives, the fastest and most easily accessible method for us to immediately make use of funds for items like diesel fuel in the trucks, food for us on the road, and hotel lodgings is to make cash bank account deposits. We appreciate you having our backs as we put our best selves forward (please email me at kwabena@AF2.farm or text at 678.499.0309 if you make a deposit so we can acknowledge you). Ase’?