Overtown Emergency Preparedness and Climate Workshop

On April 26th, CLEO hosted a community workshop in Overtown at Williams Park, as part of the Creating Climate Connections outreach program. This event was a follow-up to the Leaders’ Listening Session held on April 5th, designed to help identify concerns and questions from the community in the context of climate change. The core concerns identified at the listening session were emergency preparedness, and communication and outreach in the community. More than 40 people attended the workshop.  

The workshop addressed these issues and also covered everything from health impacts to climate gentrification; the science behind climate change; and the solutions. We also had a guest speaker from Overtown, Mel Ferguson, who shared his story and journey as a citizen raised in Overtown, and how he plans to be more active in the community with his own projects. We also had a guest speaker from FIU’s Disaster Management graduate program, Marcos Valerio. He shared some key items that people need to be aware of in order to plan more effectively for the upcoming hurricane season, and where that information can be accessed. 

The main takeaways from the evening were that citizens are engaged and want to do more. Many expressed interest in attending more community events. Based on the feedback from the surveys, health and public safety were among the biggest concerns for many of the participants, especially after the links between climate change and health were clarified during the workshop. 

At the end of the workshop, starter emergency preparedness kits were handed out; personal preparedness tips were shared; and documentation relevant to hurricane preparedness and preparation were also shared with the audience.

The meeting ended on a positive note, with a call to action to have all those present attend the town hall on May 19th, at Williams park, from 2-4 PM. Citizens will have an opportunity to talk directly with city and county officials, scientists and elected officials and have their questions answered, in the hopes of finding solutions to their issues of concern. 

Citizen engagement builds resilience.