News Brief

Here's How You Can Support Houston In the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Here are some sources and helpful tips for donating to disaster relief efforts in Houston.

Hurricane Harvey is being called one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the Untied States in recent history. As of today, the tropical storm has caused at least 30 deaths, and record-setting torrential downpour in Houston and Louisiana to a lesser extent. More than a trillion inches of rain fell in Harris County alone, causing up to 50 inches of flooding in some areas and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Needless to say, Houston—one of the most diverse U.S. cities, and home to the largest Nigerian expatriate population in the country—is in need of support for the provision of emergency rescue, housing, food and more.

If you're looking to get involved in legitimate relief efforts, here are some sources for you to check out and vet further.

The New York Times has offered a full list of organizations, as well as some basic tips on how to avoid being scammed by illegitimate organizations, such as partaking in adequate research, and being knowledgeable about signs of fraud.

Given the less than stellar track records of many larger organizations, an emphasis is being put on donating to local, Houston-based charities. The Mayor of Houston started the official Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which you can use to donate to efforts on the ground. Other local organizations to consider, include the Houston Food Bank, Coalition for the Homeless of Houston, amongst others.

Check out this list from Colorlines of organizations that focus their efforts towards disproportionately vulnerable populations, including women and children, people with disabilities, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, black and Latinx populations, and more.

For more tips on best practices for donating after a disaster, read this report from ProPublica, written in response to the Red Cross' failed relief efforts in Haiti.

If you know of any organizations doing work in Houston, tweet at us and comment on Facebook with your suggestions. We’ll continue to update this post with your suggestions. 

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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