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09/21/2018 | Organizing for a Just Recovery in Puerto Rico and Beyond

CPD Network Organizes to Demand Justice #1YearAfterMaria

A year ago this week, Hurricane Maria tore through the island of Puerto Rico, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and the island’s basic infrastructure. However, the story of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is not just a story of devastation. It is also a story of resilience, dignity and collective power. With its fury, Hurricane Maria lifted the veil on decades of disinvestment on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, but also shined a light on the resiliency and fortitude of the Puerto Rican people.

Yesterday, #1YearAfterMaria, thousands of people from all over the country came together in more than 30 cities to remember the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and to stand in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico. As part of a national day of action, community and faith groups in Puerto Rico and in 20 states across the US organized over 50 events to commemorate the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria and reaffirm their commitment to fight for a just recovery and self-determination for Puerto Rico.The actions made headlines in El DarioNPRFree Speech TVWNPRJournal InquirerThe Morning Call, and Reading Eagle among others

Over 25 CPD affiliates, allies, and partners joined forces with members of Vamos for PR, Faith in Action, Moms Rising and many other community groups to demand justice for over 200,000 Puerto Rican people who were forced to flee the island in search of a roof over their heads, running water, electricity, a job, and an open school. Marches, rallies and vigils took place in towns across the island of Puerto Rico, and on the mainland in cities like Reading, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New York City and Orlando.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Maria exposed the overwhelming impact of decades of disinvestment in Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and colonial rule, and the austerity measures that were imposed on the island by those responsible for Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. Hurricane Maria also lifted the veil on the deep solidarity and resiliency of the Puerto Rican people. In the face of a negligent and inept response by the federal government, people turned to each other for support, forming volunteer brigades to clean up roads, rebuild homes, install solar panels, and assemble massive soup kitchens to make sure everyone could eat and be nourished by a community of love. Out of an unprecedented crisis, people built power and began to craft a new vision for a Just Recovery.

 Over the last year, CPD affiliates in Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Nevada have been working to support Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. During that time, our affiliates have connected hurricane refugees to services, fought against foreclosures in Puerto Rico, and provided housing support for those those families living in shelters across the US.

 Julio López Varona, Co-Director of Community Dignity Campaigns at CPD, explained, “These actions mark an important moment of resistance and remembrance for those living in the diaspora after Hurricane Maria. Further, they represent a call to action for key cities and states where the growth of the Puerto Rican community could shift the political future of the US and, in doing so, allow for the island to get the just recovery it needs and a path towards self determination it deserves.”

 Let us be clear: Hurricane Maria AND the neglect of the federal government to respond led to more than 200,00 people being forced to flee and to the deaths of 2,975 people. We will not let them get away with this. We will continue to support Puerto Rican communities to organize and build long-term, transformative power in the island and in the states. The CPD Network is committed to supporting the vision and leadership of Puerto Rican people in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and beyond.

 We want to express our gratitude to the organizations that helped anchor events and contributed in other ways to  #1YearAfterMaria national day of action: CASA; Coco De Oro, Comerio Puerto Rico; CUFFH; Defend PR; Dream Corps; Faith in Action; Hornada Day Garden Bronx; Love Army; Make the Road Pennsylvania; Make the Road Connecticut; Make the Road New Jersey; Make the Road New York; Make the Road Nevada; Mensajeros De Paloma; Moms Rising; Movimento Borikua; New York Communities for Change,; Organize Florida; Power4PR, Puerto Rican Student Association Nevada; Puerto Rican Student Association College Station Texas; St Martin of Tours; VAMOS4PR.

 Please help lift the voices, resilience, beauty, and vision of the Puerto Rican people by making a donation to support this vital work.