9.18.2018 < BACK TO PRESS RELEASES

TAKE ACTION FOR PUERTO RICO! COALITION LAUNCHES TO BRING TOGETHER LEADING ORGANIZATIONS TO DEMAND ADEQUATE RESPONSE FOR PUERTO RICO

More than 200 coalition members from around the country will engage communities on Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, heath care equity, climate change preparedness, economic redevelopment; new toolkit now available to coordinate activities

September 18, 2018 (New York, NY)  Today, the Hispanic Federation announced the formation of Take Action for Puerto Rico!, a national, multi-cultural coalition to bring together people and organizations with the goal of taking action around four critical pillars for Puerto Rico’s recovery: empowered community, health care equity, climate change preparedness, and economic redevelopment.

 Coinciding with the one-year mark of Hurricane Maria and Hispanic Heritage Month, the Take Action for Puerto Rico! coalition will lead a month of actions, including community events, voter registration drives, outreach to Members of Congress, social media engagement campaigns, and more.

 To aid the more than 200 Take Action for Puerto Rico! coalition members, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Asian American Federation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, District Council 37, EarthJustice, Family Action Network Movement, Human Rights Campaign, Latino Community Foundation, MoveOn, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Oxfam America, and Planned Parenthood, the Hispanic Federation has created a comprehensive toolkit to be used a resource for all organizing efforts. The toolkit is available on a newly launched website, along with additional resources. The website can be accessed here – Take Action for Puerto Rico!.

 “We don’t have to look any further than President Trump’s shameful comments and mismanaged relief efforts in the year since Hurricane Maria made landfall to recognize that more work is needed to build a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico,” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. “Over the last year, grassroots, faith-based, academic and labor organizations across the country have been fighting to ensure the needs of more than 3 million U.S. citizens on the island are not forgotten. The Take Action for Puerto Rico!  coalition members are joining forces to create momentum and demand equal treatment, basic rights, and federal support that the island deserves.

“On the anniversary of Maria we need to keep organizing in support of Puerto Rico’s working families. The labor movement has a clear message for the Trump Administration and Congress – WE WILL NOT FORGET PUERTO RICO!  We will continue to mobilize in support of the people of Puerto Rico, U.S. citizens who deserve their government's support and respect," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

 “Puerto Rico is a cause that belongs to all of us,” said Hassan Jaber, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn, Michigan. “It is tragic that a year after Hurricane Maria, the people of Puerto Rico continue to suffer due to inaction by the federal government. We are proud to join this national campaign and sister organizations across the country to affirm that we will not rest until Puerto Rico receives the support it needs and deserves from our government to fully recover.”

 “The devastation and loss felt by the people of Puerto Rico are still a significant part of their lives today, a year later,” said Rahna Epting, Election Program Managing Director, MoveOn. “Like millions of Americans, we are frustrated and angry that the Trump administration failed Puerto Rico in its time of greatest need. To ensure that the victims of Maria get the attention and resources they require, we are working with our allies in this national campaign to educate and mobilize people to take up the cause of Puerto Rico and send a clear message that this will be an issue of major significance in the midterms and future elections.”

 “From California to New York, Latinos stand together in demanding justice for our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters,” said Jacqueline Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation in San Francisco, California. “Our Take Action for Puerto Rico! campaign is one focused on holding our leaders accountable so that there is a full commitment from Congress to respond appropriately to the devastation and unprecedented loss of life on the island – and a long-term investment to rebuild the lives of our American citizens in Puerto Rico.”

 “Hurricane Maria not only took away the permanent homes of families in Puerto Rico, but it forced so many people to leave their country behind and relocate,” said Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM). “There is important work to be done to rebuild Puerto Rico, so it is stronger than before. We must also take care of the people who were uprooted and need support to restart their lives in a new community.”

 “Despite the damage done by Hurricane Maria, it is inspiring to see how the Puerto Rican diaspora and its many allies have come together to help our people in the island,” said Billy Ocasio, Chief Executive Officer of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture in Chicago, Illinois. “As we continue our fight for justice for Puerto Rico, we draw great strength from the Take Action for Puerto Rico! campaign and the efforts of so many diverse organizations across the country that are affirming their solidarity with Puerto Rico.” 

 The scale of disaster in Puerto Rico requires unprecedented coordinating and support for islanders and displaced families in what will be a long journey towards a just recovery. Over the next month, Take Action for Puerto Rico! members will engage in the following activities, among many others:

  •  Advocate for the creation of a “Marshall Plan” for Puerto Rico that provides the island with the immediate and long-term resources it needs to revitalize its infrastructure, economy, health care system and other key areas.

  •  Organize Congressional call-in days and voter registration drives with friends and neighbors to pressure elected officials to take action.

  •  Host community forums and teach-ins around the country to build awareness and support for solutions aimed toward the thousands of Puerto Ricans who are still displaced, have no homes, jobs, or access to health care.

  •  Conduct Musical Protest Visits (MPV) at local FEMA offices, federal buildings, and Trump-owned properties to call attention to the inequity and disproportionate response to Hurricane Maria.

  •  Participate in rallies on September 20th and light candles to honor victims of Hurricane Maria.

In the past year, the Hispanic Federation has led recovery and relief efforts that delivered 7 million pounds of food, water, and critical supplies to all of the island’s 78 municipalities, coordinated 25 relief flights carrying medicine, first responders, and solar panels to aid those without electricity, and raised approximately $30 million dollars for community-based relief and reconstruction projects that are building a fairer and more resilient Puerto Rico.

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 About Take Action for Puerto Rico!

Take Action for Puerto Rico! is composed of grassroots advocates, faith-based leaders, labor unions, community-based organizations, public officials, and educators—and our goal is to encourage and elevate discussion, germinate ideas, and take action around four critical pillars for Puerto Rico’s recovery: empowered citizenship, health care equity, climate change preparedness, and economic redevelopment. For more information, please visit www.takeaction4pr.org.