Just six months after returning from disaster relief work in the tsunami-stricken region of India, Gargi Roysircar, professor of clinical psychology and director of the Antioch Multicultural Center, is preparing to lead a team of students to yet another disaster-stricken area, this one closer to home. Roysircar and clinical psychology students Anders Goranson, Claire Dunnett, Stephanie Miller, Alison Roy, Kate Airey, Michael Brodeur, and Vanessa Partridge will travel to the Gulf Coast in March to do Disaster Shakti, translated as empowerment, strength, and resilience in the face of disaster.
“Despite their sadness, anger, and feelings of betrayal, there is a lot of resiliency and optimism in the Gulf Coast people. Their strong religious and spiritual faith pulls them along,” said Gargi. “They are caring survivors concerned about others’ needs. We want to bear witness to survivors’ experience of Katrina and its aftermath and tell their story.”
While there, Gargi and her team will spend time with families and children in tent and trailer cities; go door-to-door assessing the needs of residents and reporting back to human services case managers; provide psychosocial activities for city employees and first responders who have worked tirelessly since the disaster; and engage survivors in conversations about trauma as it relates to disaster, racism, and poverty.