Fort Myers Black residents suffering amid devastation

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Shannon Tolbert and her cousins ​​had no power two days after Hurricane Ian made landfall, so they cooled off in the shade of a compact SUV trunk Friday afternoon in front of the house.

They live in Dunbar, a historically Black area of ​​Fort Myers that also houses a growing Hispanic and Latino population. Lining the roads were uprooted trees, straggled power lines, piles of fence remnants and storm debris from Ian’s Category 4 winds.

“Every time we have a storm, we’re the last ones to get power,” said Tolbert’s cousin, lifetime Dunbar resident Valorie Simmons, steel factory worker. Simmons’ daughter Cherell Lindsey nodded along with Tolbert’s daughter, who was lounging in the SUV’s back seat.

“It’s expected,” Simmons said. “Where it’s Black and brown people … we get it last.”

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