This is a time when we must come together, regardless of our differences — whether Democrat or Republican, black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor, citizen or immigrant, even regardless of our faith-based traditions — to support our neighbors who are being severely affected by catastrophes such as what we have experienced on the west coast with fires, Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and the impending impact of Hurricane Irma on the east coast of our country and its devastation in the Caribbean.

If you are in areas that are on the path of Hurricane Irma make sure you are tuned into your local news and weather stations, paying attention to your local officials and warnings, especially regarding evacuations and don’t wait to the last minute to respond to the severity of storm warnings.

Have a plan and make sure love ones know of your plan. Share emergency contact information. Do not take unnecessary risks. Be patient with one another. Check on seniors and those with special needs to make sure they are safe or can get to needed services before it too late.

If you are in Alabama your Alabama Emergency Management Agency number is 205-280-2200 and in Florida it is 850-413-9969.

I am praying for the safety and well being of us all. And, I am confident that we as a people will rise to this occasion and be a demonstration of humanity at its best.