Brandi Holmes & Secunda Joseph

Brandi Holmes and Secunda Joseph, both native Houstonians, discuss their experience of Hurricane Harvey. Holmes explains that she is no stranger to floods as her family’s neighborhood would flood regularly as a child, and she notes that this experience is where she learned about the devastation of floods.

In preparation for the storm, Joseph recalls buying a lot of junk food and preparing to hunker down, while Holmes made several trips to pick up supplies than she needed before the storm. When the flood waters began to recede, Holmes began to distribute her extra food to people in her neighborhood. Neither Joseph or Holmes’s homes flooded, but the women, both community organizers, helped the disaster response and rescue efforts. Joseph explains how she first tried to help relatives and friends who needed to be rescued, and then how she and Holmes monitored social media and provided information to rescuers about those who needed help because they realized people in some North Houston neighborhoods were being overlooked. Holmes mentions that her faith drove her desire to help others. After several days, Joseph and Holmes left their homes for the George R. Brown convention center to assist with the shelter operations. Holmes explains how the news media treated those who were arriving at the shelter and talks about the services offered at the shelter. To end the conversation, Holmes and Joseph discuss the fact that minority communities are often affected to a greater extent by natural disasters than other communities.