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Abre' Conner - NAACP
Press Statement January 17, 2024

NAACP Launches Florida Disaster Relief Canvassing in Partnership with the American Red Cross

Abre' Conner - NAACP


January 17, 2024

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON - This week, the NAACP, in partnership with the American Red Cross, announced the launch of 'Restore Florida, A Community Resilience Initiative.' This disaster relief community engagement and canvassing effort seeks to identify and subsequently support the outstanding needs of residents who were impacted by Hurricane Ian. The Restore Florida initiative will empower the work of NAACP Florida State Conference President, Adora Nweze, NAACP Volusia County Branch President, Cynthia Slater, and NAACP Orange County Branch President, Kran Riley, as they continue to support their communities with ongoing disaster response efforts and develop new, innovative solutions to increase disaster resilience for Black Floridians.

"The NAACP has long led the fight to advance equity at the intersection of environmental issues and civil rights. Over a year since Hurricane Ian, the Gulf Coast community is still recovering from the devastation,"said Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors and Florida resident. "We are proud to partner with the American Red Cross to launch our 'Restore Florida' initiative. This innovative partnership will allow us to continue supporting our communities on the frontlines of environmental disasters while gaining the knowledge and tools necessary to develop climate action planning and increase resilience for residents. The NAACP looks forward to making progress on eradicating climate injustice through the continued cultivation of meaningful partnerships with disaster recovery and resilience experts. This is just the beginning."

Over the past six seasons, the Gulf Coast has suffered six hurricanes at category four or higher. Because of its unique geography, Florida is increasingly susceptible to flooding, hurricane-force winds, and sea-level rise. When disaster strikes, disenfranchised Florida communities are at greater risk from hazards caused by these climate catastrophes than others.

"Our communities continue to bear the brunt of long-lasting effects as a result of Florida's climate crisis," said Adora Obi Nweze, President of the NAACP Florida State Conference."As the frequency of extreme weather events increases and elected officials have not prioritized the needs of our community, our ability to recover is severely diminished. Following Hurricane Ian, post-disaster recovery left many Black Floridians at greater risk of suffering from long-term hazards. The NAACP Florida State Conference looks forward to engaging with the American Red Cross to advance our continued work to ensure that Black Floridians receive the resources and support they need and deserve."

The 'Restore Florida, A Community Resilience Initiative' will entail: 

  Surveying and assessing community needs through canvassing efforts.

●  Leveraging canvassing data and insights from the community to provide assistance and resource referrals to other Red Cross partners with a focus on mental health and employment.

"We are proud to be partnering with the NAACP to launch the 'Restore Florida' initiative. Everyone has a role to play in helping a community recover from a disaster, from community organizations and nonprofits, to government partners and beyond," said Robert Sofaly, Long-Term Recovery Director with the American Red Cross. "Together, we can build resiliency within the communities that need it most – those affected by disasters over and over again – and listen and learn through canvasing to deliver solutions that truly meet their needs." 

For more information on the NAACP's partnership with the American Red Cross, visit our website



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media.