4/27/2011, for Tuscaloosa

I promise a more comprehensive after the semester is over (plus a guest post from a fellow grad student!), but I wanted to write a few words about the tornado that devastated parts of the U.S. southeast on April 27, 2011. I lived in Tuscaloosa for two years while I was earning my M.A. in American Studies at the University of Alabama. When I moved to Atlanta in 2009, I left behind a number of good friends who, until last Wednesday, made their homes in T-town. Now many of them don’t have homes to return to, and some have lost everything.

I keep repeating the numbers I hear–1000 injuries, 434 still missing, 39 dead–like a talisman, even though I know they’ll change. I don’t think I’ll be able to comprehend the level of destruction until I go next weekend to hug my friends, swing a hammer or two, and drop off donations, but I’m searching for something that will remain constant in the city that I spent 2 of the most important years of my life.

By all reports on the ground, the images and coverage can’t do justice to the destruction across the region. I would like to ask you to consider donating time, money, whatever you can. The University of Alabama has set up a relief site here, and there’s a clearinghouse of links at Huffington Post.

Stay strong.

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