Posted by: Gwen Camp, Director of FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division
Washington, DC, August 1, 2011 -- Leaders from a variety of African American communities participate in a roundtable discussion at the African American Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., August 1-2. The summit provided an opportunity for participants to discuss some of the biggest challenges emergency managers and responders face in traditionally underserved communities.
At FEMA, we are always looking for ways that the emergency management team can work together to accomplish common objectives and better serve the whole community before, during and after a disaster. This week FEMA held the African American Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. to hear from leaders from a variety of African American communities.
At the summit, we had frank conversations about how FEMA can be a better partner and what leaders from the private sector, faith communities, professional associations and other arenas can do to work more closely with us and our state and local partners. Participants gave us concrete feedback on how we can get our messages out more clearly and widely and also helped identify some of the biggest challenges emergency managers and responders face in traditionally underserved communities.
Administrator Fugate kicked off the Summit with an hour and a half discussion to reiterate his commitment to seeking out communities that have been underserved and underutilized in the past. He told us that it’s not enough to wait for the phone to ring, but in rural and urban communities – and everything in between – we have to be out pounding the pavement, dirt or gravel to find the people who need help the most.
The African American Leadership Summit was a part of a much longer conversation that will continue all year round. We want to thank all of the leaders who participated – for your long travel hours and the time spent here, and most importantly for the wisdom and experiences you shared with us. It takes the whole team working together to make sure we’re doing the best job possible in the communities we’re charged with serving. The Summit was a great example of how collaboration makes us all better prepared to serve our citizens and disaster survivors.