Hurricane Sandy: Leadership from Within
People piling their ruined belongings in their front yards, cars piled on top of cars, and whole areas destroyed. People struggling without electricity to keep warm, and in some cases, there were no homes to pick-up. The devastation was enormous – a mini Katrina event that has rocked the core of New York. Billions of dollars in damage, millions suffering, and hoping the lights will come back on. Young and old perishing into the darkness on someone else’s terms. Memories destroyed and millions of people displaced with nowhere to go. The destruction was endless and insurmountable. Help unable to reach needy because streets are blocked by fallen trees and live power lines. Bottlenecks in traffic at every intersection, and innocent people trapped by man-made devices.
Bringing necessary supplies to those affected was a chore within a chore, but something special occurred within the affected zones. People thought that their neighbors needed the help more than them, and thought that their situation was going to be alright if they continue to work hard. The pride and resolution in the eyes of victims was inspiring. These people are New Yorker’s who are fueled at overcoming the odds, and motivated to do better than their ancestors.Individualism and independence is at the core of all these people. The resilience factor to overcome disaster was not the most important aspect that stood out, but the willingness of whole communities to give whatever they had to help. People fighting to make it to shelters and donation sites to give supplies where there were none.
The brunt of the storm was faced by the people, and paid services such as Con Edison and local plumbing companies were at work, assisting people to have a fighting chance. The necessary services such as the Red Cross were nowhere to be found when these people needed food. Rather, local services came to their rescue with food supplies on corners and their neighbors banded together to lend a helping hand and moral support. Donation centers became stockpiled and the problem was getting the supplies into the affected zones rather than gathering supplies.
People lost their houses, belongings, cars, and loved ones, but still managed the courage to gather boats and supplies to save their neighbors from certain death. Tragedy brings out the true hero in all of us because in times of emergency there is no color barrier or gender barrier. We are all brothers and sisters who have deep compassion for one another.
Borough President Guy Molinaro, in tears, made a bold statement that was not politically friendly. He didn’t care about the politics, “people are dying”, “where is the Red Cross?”, “Don’t donate to the Red Cross – let them find the money somewhere else”, “These people need help and no one is coming”.
The borough of Staten Island had been forgotten by the economics of politics until the media exposed the truth. People had been left to die in their houses and days had passed before full rescue efforts were initiated. Only after widespread media attention did the elected officials make appearances and claim that things would be done to provide relief.
President Obama declared the affected zones, Federal disaster areas, and the Red Cross set-up their rescue efforts 3 days after the storm hit in two affluent locations that were stationed several miles from ground zero residents who had no chance to obtain their services.
NYPD officials denied that the rich were attended to first, but the statistics show, that one (1) house in the Todt Hill Area (median income $120k) had to go without electricity, when hundreds of thousands of less wealthy (median income 40k) working class people are still suffering without electricity. The poor are left to die, in embarrassment, until people start making enough noise about the injustice and social imbalance.
Running the NYC Marathon through the streets where dead bodies laid, and remnants of memories lost, is a decision that favors economics over humanity. We all know, that if the areas hit hardest had been of a higher socio-economic status, the Marathon would have been postponed or cancelled. Our NYC government seems to think that there is an inequality regarding human life, and that making a dollar, is more important than supporting our fellow Americans.
Finally, these tragedies will continue to grow in size and magnitude. We need to have a plan in place to protect our people. Our contributions need to go into proactive projects that ensure our safety when the environment hits back. The big companies who profit from damaging the environment are not on the front lines when the environment strikes back – regular people with families are in harm’s way. The disaster that comes from the wrath of Mother Nature is fast and furious and leaves behind unimaginable wreckage that is utterly incomprehensible. Viewing the wreckage was eerily similar to a scene from a movie, but the difference is that, we were in the movie this time, and there was nobody there filming the events.
Keith Lawrence Miller, M.A., PCC, BCC, CPRW
Elite Pro Coach | Ivy League Resumes
ICF Certified & Credentialed Coach (PCC) | Board Certified Coach (BCC)
M.A. Columbia University | Organizational Psychologist
(855) My-Pro-Coach | Skype (718) 717-2820
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