As you know, Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida in the last few days, and its unprecedented wind and rain caused flooding, damaged homes and schools, and left millions without power—and the storm is not yet over. Our leaders and staff from the Florida Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and many of our locals have been in constant touch with our members since last week to make sure everyone is all right. They need our help.
Our leaders have been texting members in the affected areas, and while thankfully most have told us they are physically safe, which is our first priority, many are reporting damage to their homes and are without power. We’re particularly worried about seniors and retirees, and of course those who live in the hardest-hit areas, like the Florida Keys and St. Thomas, and we will continue to check on them.
While we are calling on the federal and state government to help, this is the time for us to help too. We, as a union family, must respond as we did during and after Hurricane Harvey, Superstorm Sandy and other past disasters.
We are continuing our fundraising through the AFT’s Disaster Relief Fund specifically to include our brothers and sisters in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We want to make sure that AFT members, their families and the communities we serve receive help and relief during and after this storm. I have made additional contributions to the relief fund, and I wanted to give others the chance to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need.
Donate to the AFT’s Disaster Relief Fund here.
The donations to the relief fund will help our members, their families and affected communities in their moment of need. Whether it is home damage, ruined cars, injuries from the floods or even lost school materials, we’re going to do what we can to help people get back on their feet. In Texas, we were able to provide at least $100 to each member who suffered home or property damage and applied for assistance. We hope to be able to do the same for our members in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. And we’ve been asked to make sure our members in the affected areas see this message—so they know what their union is doing in their time of need.
After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, communities could be devastated for years to come.
We’ll continue to push government officials to implement immediate and effective disaster relief programs, as they are doing in Texas, but as an AFT family, we must be quick to act ourselves.
Every bit counts—donate to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund today.
When our members return to their schools, both they and their students’ families will be rebuilding and recovering. Let’s make sure they have the resources and support they need.
Now that the worst of the storm has passed, we’ll work with our leaders and partners to assist in delivering clean water, cleaning supplies and other supplies to affected areas. We also have posted resources for educators on Share My Lesson to help students and families who are coping with natural disasters. And working with First Book, we’ll be distributing books, school supplies and other essentials to help educators and students.
Help us make a difference right now by donating to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund.
We want to be there for people as the storm subsides and they take stock of what they need. That’s why we have this fund. Our members, their loved ones and their communities are in our thoughts and prayers; help us lend a hand by contributing to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund.
Joanne McCall, Florida Education Association President
Randi Weingarten, AFT President