To Members of Congress,
As leaders from a broad range of faith traditions across our nation, we share core convictions around justice, the bonds of family and community, and the dignity of every person.
We are writing to you with great compassion and concern for the thousands of families affected by Hurricane Ida and the federal government’s response.
And we are reminded of the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who observed in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail that we are all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all directly.”
As policymakers begin to respond to the hurricane disaster, they must direct resources to impacted people. They must center communities and get help to the ground. They must remove barriers to bringing resources to people and families by doing the following:
Long before the COVID-19 global health crisis shuttered schools and companies, communities of color were victimized by over-policing, mass incarceration, under-resourced schools, aging infrastructure, lack of good-paying jobs, and unaffordable or inaccessible health insurance. This has created a sea of suffering, particularly among groups long impacted by systemic racism and social exclusion.
But now, with the toll of Hurricane Ida yet to be tallied, we appear to be moving from trauma to trauma. Many people are being displaced, and they must navigate the fallout of yet another crisis while recovering from one of the worst pandemics in a generation.
In responding to this latest blow from Hurricane Ida, we have an opportunity to stop the cycle of tragedy and inadequate response. We must act to protect those left vulnerable by the storm and ensure that we respond in a manner that promotes greater racial equity now and in the future.