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First Lady McCray, Williams, Announce Citywide Bahamas Relief Effort

September 23, 2019

NEW YORK—In response to Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact in the Bahamas, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams announced a joint initiative today that will allow employees of the City of New York to directly donate a portion of their paychecks to hurricane relief efforts, as well as collect donations from the general public to support ongoing relief work.

The funds will be managed through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and distributed to reputable relief organizations already working to support the hundreds of thousands of people impacted in the Bahamas. One hundred percent of all donations will be dispersed to organizations leading relief efforts in the Bahamas, such as UNICEF USA, International Medical Corps, and others.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, 2019, and was one of the strongest storm surges in modern records to hit the islands. With widespread displacement and devastation, 53 Bahamians lost their lives and more than 1,300 others remain unaccounted for.

“New Yorkers of good faith have raised their voices and called for action for the people in the Bahamas over the past weeks.  Many of our families have deep connections to the islands of the Caribbean—they are hurting, mourning the loss of loved ones, and friends, and fearful of the future nature’s fury may bring, “said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “In the wake of tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and Maria, New Yorkers partnered with the City and the Mayor’s Fund to help communities rebuild, and we want to give them an opportunity to help the Bahamian people as well.”

"With the Trump Administration egregiously denying Bahamians Temporary Protected Status after Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands, our city must rise to the moment and provide critical aid," said Public Advocate Williams. “As a citywide elected official of Caribbean-descent I'm proud to join First Lady McCray and community organizations to launch this important initiative that will provide New Yorkers with a safe and secure way to donate directly to the groups on the ground providing much-needed relief."

“Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams have been friends to The Bahamas. I want to thank you all for affording me with the opportunity to share with you, some of what is going on in our lovely country and inform you of the immediate needs and how you may be able to assist. The Bahamas thanks you for this initiative and for the excellent work that you’re doing, because without your support, this tragedy could be greater,” said Hon. Lawrence “Larry” Cartwright, Consul General.

“Over its 25-year history, the Mayor’s Fund has regularly stepped forward to help share the collective good will of New Yorkers during local and international moments of need,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Through the strength of our partnerships and the generosity of the people of New York, we will help bring critical support to Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian.”

"As soon as Hurricane Dorian began wreaking havoc in the homelands of so many in my community, our local groups wanted to know how they could help,” said State Senator Zellnor Myrie. “With this relief fund, they have a safe and efficient way to support our Caribbean neighbors as they recover."

"Climate disaster affects all of us and I applaud the Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and First Lady Chirlane McCray for their efforts to help facilitate relief for the survivors and refugees of Hurricane Dorian,” said State Senator Julia Salazar. “I urge all New Yorkers to open their hearts to the survivors of this disaster and give to this cause according to their resources." 

“Just as we pulled together to help others during Hurricane Sandy, it is only appropriate that as people of good will, we reach out to our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas who were affected by Hurricane Dorian,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr. “I have partnered with local elected officials in Queens to collect non-perishable necessities for Dorian victims, and I support the city’s efforts to help repair the devastation of this storm which has impacted many Bahamians.”

"Following Hurricane Dorian's devastation, today's join donation initiative is crucial in supporting affected communities and relief work on the ground. Unfortunately we know that because of climate change, disasters like this will only become more common, so this is an important precedent to set for us New Yorkers, who will always step up and unite to help those in need," said State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. "I commend New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams on their leadership in the citywide Bahamas Relief Effort."

“Natural disasters are an unfortunate crisis that any of us in the world can be directly impacted by at any given moment in our lives. I support First Lady McCray and Public Advocate Williams in their efforts to ensure our friends in the Caribbean can get as much relief and effort as we can possibly offer. I encourage anyone who finds it in their hearts to aid in uplifting the Bahamas to do so. Thank you for not forgetting them,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman.

“As the Bahamas continues to suffer from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian, it is so important that we all step up and contribute to the recovery efforts. I encourage all City employees to participate in this program, and I thank Public Advocate Williams and First Lady McCray for their leadership during this extremely challenging time for our Bahamian brothers and sisters,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“So many families have been deeply impacted by Hurricane Dorian which has left devastation across the Bahamas, said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “As a city we are committed to helping with disaster recovery. Through this relief fund I hope that the donations from New Yorkers will provide much needed relief to those affected by this devastating storm through the long process of recovery while they work to put their lives and communities back together.”

“I would like to thank the First Lady, Chirlane McCray, and the Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams, for stepping up and organizing relief efforts for the Bahamas. New York City’s great immigrant history pushes us to act during global emergencies and disasters. My community is rich with a Caribbean diaspora, and we feel the pain of those in the Bahamas” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “My thoughts are with all impacted, and the responders navigating the destruction to find survivors and recover bodies.”

“I want to commend First Lady Chirlane McCray and my colleagues in government for their advocacy on behalf of those affected by Hurricane Dorian. This is a very dire situation for our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas, and it is imperative that we come together as a unified community to help those who require aid, said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “We still do not know the full impact of this horrific storm on the thousands of people whose lives has been uprooted, and who are in need of food, clothing, and shelter. We will continue to provide relief to The Bahamas for as long as it is necessary, and I am so very appreciative to the city of New York for taking initiative on this very important humanitarian mission.”

"The response to the people of the Bahamas following the devastating destruction caused by hurricane Dorian necessitates a global response," said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. "Three days after the 2nd anniversary of hurricane Maria which coincided with a youth global climate strike, NYC is responding to the call. My office has been a relief supply drop off location and we are eager to participate with the Mayor's Office and the Public Advocate to respond, repair, and restore the lives of these climate change victims."

“UNICEF and partners are on the ground responding to ongoing needs in the Bahamas, providing support with water and sanitation, education, psychosocial support and more. Children are most vulnerable in any natural disaster, and it’s important to ensure children and families have what they need to stay healthy and regain a sense of normalcy. In 2018 alone, UNICEF responded to nearly 300 humanitarian emergencies around the world, and we remain committed to helping rebuild communities in the Bahamas to ensure that children’s and families’ needs are met every step of the way," said Yvonne Graham, Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Impact Partnerships, UNICEF USA.

“Hurricane Dorian's devastating impact has touched the hearts and minds of so many New Yorkers who want to help our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. I commend First Lady McCray and Public Advocate Williams for empowering the hundreds of thousands of our City’s municipal employees to lend a helping hand in the recovery effort, said Scott Stringer, Comptroller. We all have a role to play in helping the people of the Bahamas rebuild, and I encourage all New Yorkers to consider supporting this worthy initiative.”

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