Connecting the Dots: Hurricane Sandy, Climate Change & Poverty

This article was originally published in the April 2013 Issue of Sojourners Magazine.

Image: Hurricane collage, Amir Ridhwan /

OVER THE PAST few years, we have seen tangible proof that creation is terribly off balance. Global warming is causing droughts and heat waves around the world and is making hurricanes more powerful. In my hometown of New York City, we have experienced the effects of severe weather: Hurricane Irene in 2011 and, most recently, the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy was an eye-opening demonstration that climate change is a poverty issue, a race issue, and an immigration issue.

Though neighborhoods of all socioeconomic statuses were affected by Sandy, poorer communities are taking longer to recover. Many of them were without electricity, heat, and water longer than were more affluent communities. For instance, residents of Red Hook’s public housing projects in Brooklyn were without power and water for two weeks after the storm. My cousin Dabriah Alston, a Red Hook resident, told me that the city ignored residents’ repeated requests for information about when the heat would come back on: “The bottom line is, they don’t care about us. Projects are filled with poor folk, and as we all know, the poor are seldom a priority.”
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AmeriCorps Public Allies Catching up with Interview

English: AmeriCorps logo

A few years ago I completed a year of service with AmeriCorps Public Allies New York and the year of service really changed my life and put me on a path to working for social justice on a full time basis. A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the Public Allies Alumni podcast Catching up with… In this short interview I was able to talk about my work, shout out some of my fellow Public Allies Alumni and reflect on non-profit work, enjoy!

Catching up With…Onleilove Podcast

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Living the Call to Serve: Public Allies NY Director

After college I completed a year of service with Public Allies New York an Americorps service program. A national program with sites around the country the mission of Public Allies is: “to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation”. This experience had a great impact on my faith, my vocation and my worldview. Though Americorps is not a Christian organization because it focuses on community service many Christians have participated in its programs. Teach for America, is one of the most well known of all the Americorps programs and 50% of its membership identify as people of faith. As shown by Christ’s words in Matthew 25 service is essential to the Christian faith, so it is no surprise that many Christians are seeking ways to serve. As young Evangelicals increasingly seek to serve in urban areas programs such as Americorps can be a great option.

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