Many AFT members, especially in Alabama, were affected by the violent tornadoes and thunderstorms that ravaged many Southern states April 27, resulting in more than 300 deaths.
"Our hearts go out to all the many victims of this catastrophic event," AFT president Randi Weingarten says. "I'd like to commend the tireless efforts of those who have been working to respond to this disaster, including our brothers and sisters at the Birmingham Federation of Teachers and the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers."
Vi Parramore, president of the Jefferson County local, provided an update on how the local is responding and how AFT members can help:
"Our office is a collection point for relief items. Our retirees and volunteers are carrying items to the hardest-hit areas. Many places have received no help yet. We are so upset over the deaths, injuries and losses. Our members are homeless. This is so sad.
"Our calls to our school AFT leaders, school officials and others are slowly helping us decide how best to respond. I am in touch with our superintendent and other community leaders daily. We are allowed into the storm areas because of our work with so many agencies, law enforcement groups and our school leaders. Immediately, we have three homeless families.
"We are looking for housing, obtaining gift cards for clothing and essentials. We need hundreds of flashlights, batteries, portable radios, wet wipes, diapers and many jars of baby food. We are also collecting sunscreen, flip flops, new packs of children's underwear, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, takeout food containers for community groups to serve food and water. Thank all our AFT family for their calls of support and help. It will be a long road to recovery."
The AFT delivered $10,000 worth of much-needed supplies from the AFT Disaster Relief Fund over the weekend and is encouraging members to send donations to our brothers and sisters in Alabama. You may do so by mailing donations or gift cards, or ordering requested items online and having them shipped to:
Attn.: Vi Parramore
1900 20th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35209
May 2, 2011
[video by Matthew Jones]