Climate Resolve’s delegation to the National Adaptation Forum (NAF) entailed a visit to Stillmeadow Community Fellowship Church, part of the City of Baltimore’s extensive resilience hub network.
We met Ms. Yorell Tuck, who shared Stillmeadow’s response to climate impacts. She described the resilience hub’s various services, which includes food distribution, internet and computer access, COVID testing, air-conditioned rooms, green spaces, workforce development for the formerly incarcerated, afterschool programming and community showers. Ms. Tuck further explained the role of partnering with governmental agencies, including Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability and the US Forest Service.
Stillmeadow is a trusted community organization — with a long history of community service that predates its formal designation as a resilience hub. The difference today is that the community’s needs can be elevated to local government. Contrast these services with the traditional cooling center, which only provides one service and doesn’t provide additional adaptive services needed by the community.
At the NAF conference we repeatedly heard this essential message from resilience hubs in Baltimore, Houston, Oakland, and Louisiana: communities have unique needs; pay attention and include them in the design and services.
The site visit to Stillmeadow was a fitting culmination to NAF, where we heard hard-won lessons about topics ranging from accessibility to technical assistance, from funding for community participation to including Tribal nations on solutions.
There was an unfortunate incident during one of our panel-presentations. Because no translation services were provided by the conference organizers, we enlisted Climate Resolve’s Chase Engelhardt to whisper live English-to-Spanish translation to an exclusively Spanish-speaker conference-goer. What happened next floored us. Another person in the room rose and asked Chase to stop whispering because they found it distracting. Embarrassed by the confrontation, the Spanish-speaking conferee insisted that we stop our ad hoc translation. We learned a big lesson this day — mainly to do a better job fighting for those whose voices need to be heard, and are frequently not accommodated.
Grants & Programs Analyst