African-Americans Question Red Cross’s Diversity

NewsChannel5.com (Nashville), Sept. 16

The Red Cross has been praised for its tireless efforts assisting storm victims in Middle Tennessee. But there are concerns in the black community that the organization lacks diversity, especially in an effort helping mostly black evacuees.

A number of minority churches and groups are offering to help, but say they’ve been left out.

The Red Cross Shelter in Franklin opened its doors to storm victims last week. It’s only one of two shelters in Middle Tennessee. The other is in Nashville.

Both shelters are in suburban areas, and the volunteers are predominately white, while the evacuees are almost all black.

Some members of the African-American community say that’s not good enough.

“When you’re different and you’re the lone person, you do feel different. When you’re in crisis you like to have some familiarity there,” says Joyce Searcy with the Bethlehem Centers of Nashville.

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But Reverend Enoch Fuzz says in times like this, the volunteer corps should be more diverse, “Who in Brentwood would know where a black beauty shop or barber shop is?” asks Fuzz.

The Red Cross acknowledges most of it’s volunteers are white, but says training is open to anyone. Since then, Joyce Searcy went through training, and is signing up others.

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