Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Resilient Bayview" launches

When the disaster struck, Jeanette Oliver knew she would need something other than her cell phone to contact family.

"I looked out the window and saw the telephone at a booth rip out of the wall and blow down the street."

Jeanette will never forget "the sound of everything breaking," or how the city and its residents simply weren't prepared for the disaster that struck when she was visiting her daughter in Queens, New York at the same time that Hurricane Sandy blew through.

She described her experience as part of the launch event for the Resilient Bayview Initiative on June 28th at the Bayview Opera House. 

Megan Hamilton kept it real at the Resilient Bayview Initiative launch.
Photo: Footprints

Dozens of experts and community leaders came together to help with the development of an action plan to help Bayview respond to a major disaster. 

The first 72 hours after such an event are critical to any recovery.  But preparedness doesn't stop there, according to G.L. Hodge. G.L. is an adviser to nonprofits about disaster preparedness, Board member of SF CARD, and Church Administrator for Providence Baptist Church.

"Having an action plan is important to getting more people to return after a disaster," G.L. said.  "In New Orleans, too many did not."

Mayor Edward Lee's goal, according to the Initiative's organizer Daniel Homesy of the City Administrators' Office, is that "as many pre-event residents and communities as possible remain part of the reconstituted city populous."

Megan Hamilton, representing Supervisor Malia Cohen's office, pointed out that "nature is going to kick everyone's butt.  We can't prevent that, but we can be prepared."

Representing residents on 3rd Street, Anietie Ekanem encouraged everyone to take the emergency response training known as NERT.  See a Neighborhood Empowerment Network video of Anietie here.

Lyslynn LaCoste of BMagic said, "If we lose our community-based organizations, we'll be without services for children, youth and their families."

Many governmental and academic partners of the Initiative were in the room.  Speakers included Alan Kwok of the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, Rebecca Gallegos of the Bayview Opera House, and Andrea Baker of Andrea Baker Consulting and Bayview Town Center Activation.

The Initiative is funded by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund through the Empowered Communities Program.

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