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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fellow Gators and football fans, we need to sit down and have a chat about your behavior over this weekend. A state of emergency was declared over our great state as Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and our east coast. As of press time, 902 people have perished in the wake of this catastrophic storm.

Those responsible for postponing the football game made an unpopular, albeit necessary, decision. On Saturday, our weather here in Gainesville was nothing short of beautiful, but there was no way for anybody (meteorologists, Southeastern Conference officials, team management, etc.) to know this would be the case. There was a strong possibility that Gainesville could have been dealing with some serious aftermath.

Other areas in Florida weren’t so fortunate. Pretty much the entire east coast was placed under hurricane-warning status, an area, mind you, that 52 members of our football roster are from. With so many of our players having their homes and the homes of their families in a potential zone of destruction, it is likely those team members are grateful the game was postponed. They could focus on helping their families in their efforts to stay safe this past weekend, not to mention the police and firefighters who left the Swamp to help out in other affected counties.

Fellow football fans, please respect the damage Hurricane Matthew has caused here in Florida and elsewhere over the country and in the Caribbean. While the weather here was bright, some of our students woke up Saturday morning to information quite dim. The authorities in charge of making the decision to cancel the game were absolutely correct in their decision, and I’m sure many of us here at UF are grateful they did so, even if we did miss a football game to be possibly made up in the near future.

That being said, there is a crisis going on in Haiti. We here in Florida, especially those from South Florida, know how deep our history with Haiti is. Many of our fellow residents and students have loved ones in Haiti.

Haiti, right now, is in a state of national mourning. According to government officials, 350,000 people need aid. Thousands of homes have been destroyed there. With crop fields left barren, their food supply is dwindling. Local infrastructure was destroyed; sewage and floodwaters mixed into water supplies, leaving many people without access to clean water. Without help from the international community, the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew will continue to devastate Haiti, even though the wind and rain have become calmer.

Don’t feel bad if this is the first time you’re hearing all of this. Turn on the TV, and all you’ll see is another example of Trump’s already well-documented sexism. Another gaffe in the saga of his campaign distracted us from thousands of suffering people. On social media, no such indication that a storm had hit the small island nation exists. No #PrayForHaiti trended on Twitter, and no profile photo filter was released on Facebook.

As Floridians, we cannot sit here in good conscience while the families and friends of our families and friends suffer. Everybody reading this editorial knows someone who was directly or indirectly affected by the destruction of Hurricane Matthew. Everybody can do something, whether it’s donating goods or money (please donate to organizations with histories of actually helping) or reaching out to friends who need comfort. Do not turn a blind eye on those in trouble. Be grateful we here in Gainesville are safe, and express that gratitude by helping those who weren’t.

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