September 19, 2022

Do you know what’s happening in Puerto Rico right Now?

*Hurricane Fiona: live updates from the New York Times here.
~

Mi isla del encanto is struggling.

I was lucky enough to visit Puerto Rico—the land where my mother and her mother and her mother before her were born—for the first time back in 2013. Having grown up hearing stories about the island from my parents and grandparents, I could hear the land calling to me.

And just like any good boricua, as soon as the plane landed and the flight attendant said “Welcome to Puerto Rico” over the intercom, my sisters and I clapped and cried.

I remember chatting with the concierge at our hotel the day we checked in and he asked me, “Is this your first time in Puerto Rico?” I explained that it was but that my mother and her parents and grandparents and my father’s mother, and a long list of other relatives, had all been born and raised there. He took my hands, squeezed them, and said “Welcome home.”

I was lucky enough to visit again with my boyfriend in 2019, less than a year and a half after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. I had watched the coverage on TV and heard stories from my mom, who was in touch with relatives who still live there, and while the overwhelming damage was still evident, what stood out to me most as I walked around and spoke to people was the resilience of my people. Their strength. Their desire to rebuild. The love for their island.

Yet, here we are again—five years after Hurricane Maria—dealing with another hurricane, a complete loss of power on the island, the damaging impact of colonization that’s been ravaging the country for over a century, and tax break laws that are causing mass gentrification and pushing out native Puerto Ricans from their homes.

Like I said, my island is struggling.

I’ve spent the past few days reading and watching everything I can about what’s happening in Puerto Rico, and since we’re less than a week into Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, I felt the urge to share it with others. Because while this is a time to indulge in and appreciate our music and our food and our culture, it’s even more important to appreciate and educate ourselves about the real-world issues that are impacting Latinx people every day.

Here are a few of the resources I trust:

Bianca Graulau is an independent journalist from Puerto Rico who I’ve been following on TikTok for almost a year now. She tells the stories that matter, the stories we don’t see on mainstream news. The stories we need to hear. As someone who went to school for journalism, I have the utmost respect for the work she does.

You can follow her on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

View this post on Instagram

@biancagraulau Reply to @levertthebassman Thank you all for your well wishes & concern. I’m all good but worried about the people going through this. #puertorico ♬ original sound – Bianca Graulau

David Begnaud is an American journalist and national correspondent for CBS News who I came to know because of the incredible coverage he did in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. He became my go-to for updates and on-the-ground stories, and even five years later he’s still just as invested in the people of Puerto Rico.

You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by David Begnaud (@davidbegnaud)

Then there’s Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican rapper and musician who is using his visibility to bring constant attention to the plight of Puerto Ricans and the ongoing issues on the island. Back in 2019, he both joined and inspired protestors who helped remove former Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló from office.

And just a few days ago, he released the music video for his song, “El Apagón” (The Blackout). While the song itself, which serves as a love letter and protest anthem, is powerful enough, he also included an 18-minute documentary at the end that digs deeper into the issues impacting the island, featuring reporting from Bianca Graulau.

I spent the entirety of the documentary crying tears of anger and pride and sadness—for my people, for my island—and then immediately sent it to my mom and sisters.

Honestly, it’s a video that anyone who claims to care needs to see. (English subtitles available.)

~

On September 18th, President Biden declared a State of Emergency in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Fiona, and authorized FEMA to begin coordinating disaster relief efforts.

I’ll update ways to help as we learn more in the coming days, but the truth is that one of the biggest ways to make a change is to educate ourselves about what’s going on both in and outside of our communities. And to never stop being curious about how we can be of benefit.

Update: How to Help

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Somos (@r29somos)

~

Read 3 Comments and Reply
X

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Nicole Cameron  |  Contribution: 307,735

author: Nicole Cameron

Image: YouTube