As we gear up for a hot summer, it’s important we prepare for and stay alert to California’s natural disasters, such as wildfires and earthquakes. Since COVID-19 hit our communities, the gaps in our safety net allowed for some of our most vulnerable communities to fall through the cracks. At the same time, we have seen our neighbors step up and come together to provide mutual aid and support for one another. Our solidarity is our strength. This is how we will come through together in times of crisis. 

As many of us continue to adapt to our new reality around Covid-19, we can’t ignore the fact that poor, working-class people of color are the most systematically impacted by environmental disasters. Our neighborhoods have been historically neglected and continue to be, leaving us at a higher risk of impacts.

At the start of the shelter-in-place, Oakland Rising texted thousands of residents to see how folks were doing. Over eight thousand people shared their gratitude for us reaching out and for our resource list. They also reported that their top concerns were loss of work and food and housing insecurities. Our folks are having difficulty accessing resources due to our local and state governments not being ready to act in time. The pandemic continues to expose the racial, economic, and environmental injustices our communities face during hard times.

More sobering are the statistics that show us the racial disparities in our communities and how Black and Brown communities are most heavily affected by Covid-19, with high rates of death and spread of the virus in flatland communities in Oakland. But one thing we have is our resilience. We have struggled and come together as communities to care for each other before, and we are doing so now. 

As Oakland Rising works to build the political power of our flatlands communities and advance policies that prioritize our most vulnerable community members, we know that we also need to be prepared to literally take care of ourselves and each other. We must pull together our resources and prepare for the next crisis as fire season is lurking around the corner. 

One step we can take to minimize the heavy burden or damage of any natural disaster is to start preparing and have a plan set for ourselves and our loved ones. The Governor’s Office recently released a Emergency Preparedness Guide which provides safety steps and tips to help prepare Californians for any upcoming natural disasters.
Take a look and learn more about the four steps you can take to prepare your family and loved ones for the next disaster. Prepare the materials and resources you’ll need to prioritize, and plan for our livelihood and well-being before disaster hits us. We need to be prepared from our individual homes, to our larger communities, to our municipal governments; from micro to macro, we need everyone to be prepared. I’ve got my emergency preparedness kit ready at home. Do you?