This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.
Continue to urge your members of Congress to stay on top of the evolving, complex crises in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused by Hurricane Maria, and ask them to do what is needed to provide aid and relief to their residents.
Note: This information was originally part of a multi-purpose post published on September 29. We’ve reworked the post and reposted it as a separate, dedicated item so it can continue to update it and circulate it until Puerto Rico and the USVI receives the help they need.
Just when you think Donald Trump can’t lower himself any further, he answered the desperate plea of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, who said, “I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying,” with an extra-disgusting series of tweets that pretty much blamed her and her fellow citizens for her plight:
The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.
…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….
…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.
He sent those tweets on the morning of Saturday, September 30, from his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. He is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico and perhaps the USVI on Tuesday.
Read more here:
These Trump responses, delivered in the context of a catastrophe that already looked like Katrina 2.0, threatens to outdo that horror of 12 years ago.
Since those tweets appeared, angry citizens have been dropping the full weight of the Internet on Trump’s head, and on the Trump administration, repeatedly and without relent (as it should).
There is some good news in all of this. After an initial refusal, followed by a heap of pressure, the Trump administration agreed on Friday September 29 to temporarily suspend the section of the Jones Act that had been needlessly delaying aid shipments to Puerto Rico:
The bad news is the suspension only lasts for 10 days. Be prepared to call on this again if we get to day eight or nine and the need is still severe.
Now the roll call of resources for aiding those Americans afflicted by Hurricane Maria:
In general, and not just for Hurricane Maria-related activism, you need to follow Celeste Pewter on Twitter. She’s on top of …damn near everything happening that you’ll want to yell at your MoCs about, and she provides call scripts to boot.
Her Twitter handle:
…also know that the updated call script below cribs from a recent script that she wrote.
To stay on top of Puerto Rico, specifically, follow Nydia Velazquez, a House rep from Brooklyn who’s been all over this for a while now:
In particular, she’s seeking a one-year suspension of the Jones Act, which can complicate the timely arrival of aid via ship, and she’s seeking waivers of federal laws that require matching funds from disaster-afflicted areas. (Update: As of September 27, Trump agreed to waive these financial demands.) Puerto Rico cannot muster the funds because it is deeply in debt and cannot obtain credit.
See Velazquez’s letter:
Also on the ball is Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of the Broadway hit Hamilton. Miranda is of Puerto Rican descent and is a solid champion of the island.
His Twitter feed will have faster updates on specific things you can do to help Puerto Rico:
Pinned to the top of his Twitter page is a link through which you can donate to the Hispanic Federation:
Beatriz Rossello, the First Lady of Puerto Rico, has launched the aid organization United for Puerto Rico:
GoFundMe has aggregated several fundraising pages that focus on Hurricane Maria relief efforts:
And check out Diasporicans, a website for Puerto Ricans who live off-island. It has scripts for calling your MoCs to request help:
Still more suggestions for how to help, from PBS’s Newshour program:
Another venue for donating to help Puerto Ricans is Puerto Rico Strong, which is a wish list of items that islanders need:
The One America Appeal has widened its scope to cover Maria, Puerto Rico and the USVI:
…and here is a piece from ColorLines that lists charities and organizations that assist Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or both:
Lastly, if you are in a position to consider planning a vacation off the U.S. mainland, think about taking a trip to Puerto Rico or the USVI once they’ve had a chance to recover. Tourism is vital to the economies of both. Going there to relax and spend money will help these places out.