This winter has shown nothing short of climate change. Through the end of last year to now, we’ve seen bizarre weather patterns that have taken a toll compared to the norm that we’re used to. Recently, Texas has suffered through low temperatures in the single digits, bursting pipes in houses due to snow, loss of heat and electricity, etc., basically making their homes unlivable. What’s also strange is Texas Governor Ted Cruz’s recent getaway to Cancun with his family during this time. Now is the time Texas needs leadership, resources and support — it’s not the time to book a flight, especially when you hold such a position.
While thousands of people are still suffering in Texas, it’s scary to think about what this country is prepared for when there are natural disasters. Yes, it’s unusual for Texas to have a snowstorm, but after events such as Katrina, you’d think they would be prepared for things like this. Also, similar to the effects of Katrina, it’s hard not to think about the communities that are being affected differently with this storm. Black, Hispanic and lower class neighborhoods have suffered significantly, not having the finances to afford a hotel, losing most of their valuables and everything else they had left. Already facing the hardships of the pandemic, this causes another blow for these communities. As temperatures dropped into the single digits, electricity was kept on in neighborhoods that shared circuits with critical facilities like hospitals, facilities less commonly found in poor or Black/Hispanic communities. Cities have set up warming centers in different areas, but those without reliable transportation suffer a disadvantage. If history repeats itself, these communities could also be the last ones to get the attention and service that they need. With jobs shutting down, most families worry if they’ll be able to pay bills through March, creating another setback that the pandemic has already caused.
The question is why is there such a debate on stimulus checks, providing resources and actually helping people through this tough time when there are people living on their last dime? This is not the time to decide whether or not to help, when people in those communities don’t even have the choice if they’ll survive the next day.
Najah Hendricks is a fourth-year Social Work major, Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies Minor. Nh871270@wcupa.