Reverend James Caldwell

For the majority of his life, Reverend James Caldwell has lived in Houston, Texas, where he experienced tropical storms and hurricanes. Caldwell mentions Hurricane Harvey did not discriminate when causing chaos, revealing inequalities in services, and the resources certain areas could access. Both before and after Harvey, Caldwell discusses inequality, activism, and differing socioeconomic opportunities and experiences within the Houston area. Caldwell was stranded at a friend’s house for two days due to the storm. IHe reveals the event placed a heavy burden on his heart through witnessing the horrors of the flooding, hearing others’ accounts, and noticing the continued aftereffects. Caldwell also relayed his experience with the Red Cross and how they helped post-hurricane. Through his own nonprofit organization, Coalition of Community Organizations, Caldwell collected funds to pay for a warehouse that held donations for those affected by Harvey. Part of helping others post-Harvey included a phone bank where people offered their cell phones to those wishing to contact friends or family members. Caldwell offers accounts of other individuals affected by the hurricane, especially those in the Kashmere Garden/Fifth Ward area. The details the role of private organizations and governmental organizations and also focuses on the importance of activism, self-sufficiency, and racial equality to remove unfair barriers in the future. The importance of psychological recovery and how hurricanes can damage the psyche as well as property are discussed. Briefly diverging from Harvey, Caldwell mentions Hurricane Katrina before returning to Harvey and the resultant loss of jobs and its impact on local businesses and homelessness. Caldwell wraps up the interview by discussing how the community can work to solve inequalities and prepare for future storms.