Beyoncé delivered a impassioned plea to donors during the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. “During a time where it’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country, just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools and nursing homes,” the singer said in a pre-recorded message.
Beyoncé, a Houston native, spoke about watching her city come together during a time of great strife, noting pointedly, “Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together. Seeing everyone of different racial, social and religious backgrounds put their own lives at risk to help each other survive, restored my faith in humanity.”
The musician also connected Harvey and Irma’s destruction to other environmental catastrophes around the world. “The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day,” she said. “Just this past week, we’ve seen devastation from the monsoon in India, an 8.1 earthquake in Mexico and multiple catastrophic hurricanes. Irma, alone, has left a trail of death and destruction from the Caribbean to Florida to the Southern United States. We have to be prepared for what comes next. So tonight we come together in a collective effort to raise our voices, to help our communities, to lift our spirits and heal.”
Beyoncé has been active in various efforts to assist Houston in the wake of Harvey. She reportedly made a large private donation to relief efforts and has also launched her own fundraising initiative. Knowles’ BeyGOOD Foundation is working with two organizations, Bread of Life and the Greater Houston Community Foundation, and the musician’s website is encouraging people to donate to both.
Last Friday, Beyoncé delivered an emotional speech to Hurricane Harvey evacuees at Houston’s St. John’s Church. “This today is a celebration of survival,” she said. “Y’all are my family. Houston is my home. I thank God that y’all are safe, that your children are safe. The things that really matter are your health and your children, and your family and your life.”
Proceeds from the Hand in Hand telethon will go the following charities: Rebuild Texas Fund, ASPCA, Best Friends, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, Feeding Florida, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and United Way.