Long Beach Residents Help Themselves

I was looking through some posts on the Long Beach Hurricane Info FB from December and came across a few posts about a FB event:

http://www.facebook.com/events/223060047828116/

The event is called Light Up Long Beach, it happened on new years eave and really showed how a community can be drawn together by tragedy.  For the event residents placed paper bags with candles or lights in them on the street in attempt to actually light up the area.  The posts in the facebook page enforced how much this community came together.  They posted to ask which stores to go to to purchase  lights, to find out if someone could give them a ride because their car was damaged, to see if anyone was willing to sell them extra lights because they were too busy to go to the store.  They also created an interactive map (which I will post when I get a hold of) where they marked each street that people said they would put lights on.  If there were any streets that people were not putting lights on (for whatever reason) someone would volunteer to walk over and put lanterns on the corner.  One post even spoke to the extended community when a woman who had grown up in Long Beach posted saying that she would be putting a lantern outside of her new house.

The page is continuing to be used for community-building purposes. Just the other day an individual posted a link to another page on facebook called Project 11561 (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-11561/378345352262194) .  The mission statement of this grassroots organization is as follows:

“The mission of Project 11561 is to develop and pursue initiatives and projects that promote a sense of community while beautifying the City of Long Beach. Our goal is to cultivate pride and motivate our diverse population to participate in the process. Project 11561 will fundraise and organize programs and events that celebrate the spirit of Long Beach, New York.”.

On the page there are posts about specific service related opportunities-  asking for volunteers to help clean and restore the library, raising money through a dollar drive to help the schools- as well as community building activities like their snowman building competition. Below is a flyer for one of their earliest events which combined both the service and community focuses of the group

Capture

Looking past Facebook and into the news, you can find even more examples of citizens who really care about supporting the community of Long Beach.  This article, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765621245/Long-Beach-Miss-repays-years-old-favor-by-raising-funds-for-Long-Beach-NY.html, for example, talks about how individuals in Mississippi are working to raise money for Long Beach to reciprocate the aid Long Beach sent after Katrina.This picture

2b14ff7577aa1690b4aa756e62390a56

shows a child from Port Washington who did his best to help Sandy victims by asking for gift cards and donations in place of presents.  This narrative, of Sandy causing children, adults, and teens alike to do something to provide aid, is both amazing and not uncommon.

This depiction of Sandy, as something that is bringing the community together rather than tearing it apart, is something that is rather unique to Sandy.  In Tierney’s  “Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina”, she talks about how the media often portrays civil unrest, such as looting and violent crime, as the result of disasters as it more effectively catches the public eye as it is consistent with portrayals of disasters in pop-culture (60).  In her piece she goes on to comment on how this negative media portrayal leads to things like enforced curfews and army intervention, which can ultimately prevent residents from helping one another (75), so in a sense this swayed media perspective can become a self-fulfilling phrophecy. With Sandy in Long Beach, this has not tended to be the case. Whether because media is not paying as much continuous attention to Long Beach or because there actually are few detrimental actions being taken by citizens, Long Beach after Sandy is being portrayed as a community coming together, and is proving this to be the case through citizens’ actions.

Work Cited

Litman, Cynthia. “Bo’ys Birthday Wish: Long Beach Sandy Aid.” Long Beach Patch 01 02 2013, n. pag. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Tierney, Kathleen, and Christine Bevc. “Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina.” Trans. ArrayAnnals. 2006. 57-81. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.

 

 

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monica byrne

writer . playwright . artist . activist . traveler

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