Our first newsletter was supposed to go out on the New Moon of September. That’s when Hurricane María struck and the land of my birth experienced the first climate catastrophe caused by human made global warming. The island went dark. The diaspora went into despair. The waters and the winds struck with unfathomable fury.
The disaster is still unfolding.
Paul Krugman nails it in his column - Let Them Eat Paper Towels.
"What we’re actually witnessing, in effect, is the betrayal and abandonment of three and a half million of our own people...
Much of the answer, no doubt, is the usual four-letter word: race. Puerto Ricans would doubtless be getting better treatment if they were all of, say, Norwegian descent."
The way our president goes back and forth between “we will do everything to help Puerto Rico” and blaming us for the disaster, calling us ungrateful, then saying he will help us again - isn’t this the exact pattern of an abusive relationship? To the extent that there is a silver lining to this horror, it is the fact that the word “colony” is now part of the conversation. The nation has to contend with the fact that it keeps offshore islands where real people live as second class, disenfranchised citizens.
In the age of short attention spans, when news cycles blur with entertainment, as more and more suffering unfolds in Puerto Rico, it is important to remember we may not have seen the worst yet. The Associated Press reports that: “Nearly a month after the hurricane made landfall, Puerto Rico is just beginning to come to grips with a massive environmental emergency that has no clear end in sight.”
People are not working. There is no electricity. Resources are rationed, services are slow or non-existent, and the elders and children, who are the most vulnerable in the community are at the end of their rope. My own Abuelo, pictured, a man I truly adore, is as ok as he can be under the circumstances. He lives in a home for elderly veterans of the US Armed Forces. Too few people have the help that they need.
People are leaving the island. Even the close knit Puerto Rican communities in the U.S. mainland, like the one where I grew up, are scrambling to house and take care of the wave of climate refugees.
Friends, this is real and now and our people need your help.
Please, do what you can to give. Here is one fund that has been co-signed by people I trust. And if you have a way to give directly to women on the ground, and specially beyond the metro region, go ahead and do that - it is the best way to help.