A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 31, 2011
“Disasters don’t discriminate”

Joe Albaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from February 2001 until March 2003, said this in December 2002:

“Disasters don’t discriminate, and neither should our response to them.”

The saying “(natural) disasters don’t discriminate” means that a hurricane or an earthquake can destroy both rich and poor areas, and that disaster relief (from FEMA, the Red Cross and others) should also be the same in all areas. “Disasters don’t discriminate” has been a popular saying, although Allbaugh is seldom credited.
FEMA Announces New, Balanced Policy To Extend Assistance To Eligible, Necessary Faith-Based Organizations
Release Date: December 12, 2002
Release Number: HQ-02-250
Washington, DC—President Bush, appearing at a conference for faith-based and community leaders in Philadelphia today, announced several steps that will strengthen the Administration’s compassion agenda by making it easier for America’s faith-based and community groups to work with the federal government. One important step, taken today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was an announced shift in FEMA policy to broaden the eligibility of certain non-profit organizations to receive federal disaster assistance. The new policy recognizes the statutory eligibility of private, non-profit organizations which provide necessary and vital functions to local communities.
“Disasters don’t discriminate, and neither should our response to them,” Joe M. Allbaugh, FEMA Director said. “This new policy will finally bring balance to FEMA’s applications review process, and end the discriminatory double-standard applied to certain non-profits that provide essential functions,” Allbaugh said.
Google Books
Congressional Record
Volume 151
October 11, 2004
Pg. 23,302, col. 2:
In the words of the former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, “Disasters don’t discriminate, and neither should our response to them.”
30 January 2005, Logansport (IN) Pharos-Tribune, “Disaster aid starts at home” by Sheri Conover Sharlow, pg. A7, col. 4:
Disasters don’t discriminate, and neither does the Red Cross. It brings much needed respite to people of any ethnic group, any family status and any income.
Yahoo! Groups
Thu Oct 6, 2005 1:43 pm
CAI Lauds FEMA Debris-Removal Decision
ALEXANDRIA, VA, OCTOBER 6, 2005 – Under the gun in the horrific aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is being
applauded for making community associations in Alabama, Louisiana and
Mississippi eligible for debris-removal assistance.
“This is an issue of equity,” said Foley-Healy. “Residents in homeowner and
condominium associations pay federal taxes as well as all applicable property,
state and sales taxes. Simple fairness dictates that community associations
receive assistance, since government agencies do pay for debris removal in other neighborhoods. Natural disasters don’t discriminate between community
associations and neighborhoods without associations.”
SKNVibes (St. Kitts, West Indies)
Posted: Wednesday 12 October, 2005 at 4:54 PM
Charlestown Nevis (October 12, 2005) Director of the Nevis Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Mr. Lester Blackett on Tuesday October 11, said that the Disaster Awareness Week of Activities was a success.
With the timely theme, Plan Now Don’t Wait Disasters Don’t Discriminate, the general public benefited from a number of activities, said Blackett.
Monday, October 31, 2005
“Natural Disasters Don’t Discriminate” ?
There’s a big poster on the wall there that says, “Natural disasters don’t discriminate.” I spent a good part of my five hours wondering who put that poster there, and why. Do they want us to scrape our minds for any trace of logic to convince us that we are all equal here, that the people who waded through floodwaters, and lost relatives, and waited under a scorching sun for days with no food and water, and who are even now being prohibited from seeing their houses, and who are even now being stopped by police and arrested with a force and exuberance greater than i have ever seen before, even here, are not overwhelmingly poor and Black? And that so much of this, and the racism that allows it to exist, is not actually the result of disaster but the cause of it?
Google Books
Handbook of Public Pedagogy:
Education and learning beyond schooling

Edited by Jennifer A. Sandlin and Jake Burdick
New York, NY: Routledge
Pg. 560:
“Disasters don’t discriminate” is a slogan used by many homeland security agencies (including EUR-OPA, the council of Europe major hazards agreement website). Such a statement speaks to a supposed White audience, perhaps an audience privileged in other aspects of their lives. A simple, alternative reading would be “don’t expect your privilege to save you.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Wednesday, August 31, 2011 • Permalink

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