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As the summer and fall approach, frontline communities across the United States are bracing and preparing for the hurricane, tornado, and fire seasons ahead. Models are predicting one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons on record and severe fire activity across the West. On top of this, the Covid-19 pandemic brings with it a whole new set of challenges and barriers for responding to natural disasters. Across the West, communities are facing reduced wildfire suppression capacity as many firefighters have been infected by the coronavirus or remain in quarantine from exposure. Throughout the Southeast, the coming storms will strain the resources of places hard hit by Covid-19 and still recovering from the most recent hurricane season.

On Tuesday June 23 at 3 p.m. EST, we aired our latest livestream conversation to explore how local, state, and federal leaders are working to reinvent their response and recovery strategies amid these challenges, building out new protocols to prepare their communities for the coming months.

Our panel of local experts from around the country came together to highlight the incredible resilience of many frontline communities — particularly the tight-knit rural ones that have weathered disasters before — while also addressing urgent concerns about how to safely handle shelters and evacuation camps during a pandemic, effectively disseminate up-to-date information, and tap into available federal and state funds.

This conversation was co-presented by the Daily Yonder in partnership with Southerly Magazine and the Rural Assembly. Note, the Rural Assembly is a program of the nonprofit Center for Rural Strategies, which also publishes the Daily Yonder.

All the original details about the event are listed below.

Watch Now on the Daily Yonder YouTube channel.

Event Details

The livestream will be available on the Daily Yonder’s YouTube channel. It will premier at 3 p.m. Eastern Time (12 p.m. Pacific Time) on Tuesday June 23. For those who miss the live conversation, the video will remain available for viewing on-demand.

Panelists for the session include:

  • Dr. John Cooper, Assistant Vice President for Public Partnership & Outreach and Director of Texas Target Communities, Texas A&M University
  • Shirell Parfait-Dardar, traditional chief of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw
  • Steve Wilensky, President of Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions and former supervisor of Calaveras County, California
  • Lyndsey Gilpin, Editor-in-Chief, Southerly Magazine, Moderator

Participants are encouraged to sign up to attend these livestreams via the Rural Assembly website; registration is not required, but those who sign up receive a reminder email with a livestream link when the conversation is about to begin.

Viewers are encouraged to participate by sharing their questions, in the comments section of livestream videos or by tweeting with the hashtag #ruralconversations.