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After Hurricane, Black Women’s Defense League Focuses On Relief For Communities Of Color In Houston

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With Hurricane Irma thrashing Florida as this episode goes to publication, we share an interview with Niecee X of the Black Women’s Defense League, which is deeply involved in relief efforts for those in Houston impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The Defense League has been in the fifth and third ward of the city. They also have traveled to parts of Port Arthur and Beaumont. The focus is on communities of color overlooked and under-served when it comes to relief after natural disasters. They also intend to create long term access for communities and create communities that possibly did not fully exist prior to the hurricane.

Niecee says they are providing resources to black women, as well as other women of color who need support because of the situation with shelters in the Houston area. She asks, how many shelters are safe for a transgender person of color? Or an undocumented person? Or a black woman who has been abused?

“With Hurricane Irma on our heels,” Niecee says, “People with felonies, people with warrants, all of these folks were either not going to be allowed into the shelter or arrested once they decided to come to the shelter. This is a person, who is fleeing a hurricane; trying to keep their life intact, keep their family’s lives intact. And they’re being turned away or being told they’re going to be placed in jail if they go and seek shelter.”

Niecee raises the issue of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents, who were allowed by the Red Cross, to go into a primary center for relief in Houston and round up undocumented immigrants. These are the people the Defense League is concerned about while they work to rebuild.

During the discussion portion, the hosts talk about Hurricane Irma, Hillary Clinton’s new book, which is unfortunately set to afflict discourse for the next month or so, and North Korea.

To listen to the entire episode, click the above player or go here.


Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."