For the executives at the Perry Publishing & Broadcasting Company in Oklahoma City, the tornado that devastated parts of that city has been nothing short of a call to action.
Perry Broadcasting, which is one of the nation’s largest African-American owned communications companies, has been running on overdrive, raising funds for victims, disseminating information on shelters for people left homeless and seeking to reunite family members searching for one another.
“We have been doing fund drives for food items and clothing and collecting money for families,” said Russell M. Perry, the founder, chairman and chief executive of the company, in an interview with BET.com.
“We feel it is important to get out there and to meet the needs of the community during this crisis,” Perry said. “We also are trying to partner with other organizations that are trying to help in this crisis. We feel that, with our resources, we can help create a groundswell of support. It is needed because we haven’t seen anything like this before.”
The tornado that swept through the Oklahoma City area shattered the nearby town of Moore, leaving dozens dead and several more injured. Officials said it was too early to have precise numbers on casualties.
Perry Publishing has a major presence not just in Oklahoma City, where it is based, but beyond. The company owns the Black Chronicle, the state’s oldest African-American community newspaper, as well as 16 radio stations in Oklahoma and beyond. It is the nation’s largest privately-held Black communications company.
In Oklahoma City, the company operates AM and FM stations that broadcast urban music. And Perry and his son, Kevin, the company’s president, say they have been using both stations to help keep people informed about aid.
“Tornadoes are not prejudiced and they don’t discriminate,” Kevin Perry said, speaking with BET.com. “It affects Black and white, young and old. It’s a vicious thing that takes out everything. It’s a depressing thing to see. But, on the other hand, we see this community rallying together to help each other. We feel it’s important to be a part of that.”
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(Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Kendall James/U.S. Department of Defense via Getty Images)