PRESS CONFERENCE 19 APRIL 2018
CITY HALL STEPS
Who: Puerto Rican families facing hotel eviction on 21 April or 14 May, FEMA’s deadline to end housing aid.
Speakers: Sofia Miranda, Andrea Tejada, Brenda Suarez, Suzette Sánchez with coalition members from #OURPOWERNYCPR, Creative Justice Initiative, BxCoSHME, Diaspora X PR, and many others
When: Thursday, 19 April 2018 at 11:00 a.m
Where: Steps of City Hall
What: Press Conference and one-on-one interviews with Puerto Rican families in New York.
The U.S. government is not adequately allocating and providing the financial resources or guidance and social services needed to care for the dignity of the Puerto Rican people as this humanitarian catastrophe and crisis unfolds in Puerto Rico and the United States. The U.S. Government is instead leaving hundreds of Puerto Rican families in precarious situations where they are at greater risk of spiraling downward into the depths of poverty and all its accompanying perils.
Many U.S. localities have lent resources and relief aid to Puerto Rican families forced to leave Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. But that is not enough. The closing of the emergency service center at the Julia de Burgos Performance and Arts Center in El Barrio was a big dis-service for Maria evacuees in New York City. Read the full story in “From One Crisis To Another” by Emma Whitford for The Village Voice. Mayors in Connecticut are demanding more accountability from the Governor. Bloomberg News reports that “Puerto Rico Evacuees Could Strain Mainland Medicaid.” In Florida, evacuees held a gathering in front of the now-closed Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration offices, asking for “greater cooperation between the federal, state, and island governments and FEMA.” And, resource fairs and community gatherings like these ones across the nation are trying to piece together a roadmap to help Puerto Rican families connect, transition, and regain their lives. This crisis is disproportionately affecting women and children.
Eligibility for transitional housing is re-evaluated every 30-days on a case-by-case basis. New York City Maria evacuees have a new deadline, 20 April. After this date, the families will be evicted and will most likely be placed in the homeless shelter system.
Approving a $2.2 Billion aid package, when an estimated $94Billion was needed, is a slap in the face to all Puerto Ricans. Hurricane Maria’s historically massive size and destructive force changed the course of history for Puerto Rico.
The White House has demonstrated utter inhumanity and neglect in denying the necessary disaster aid that the island and mainland need to carry the full scope of the consequences. In addition to this, the fiscal control board PROMESA, aggressively imposes more austerity measures that will ultimately strangle the livelihood of the Puerto Rican people. All of that, in addition to the cumulative effects of over a century of usury economic and political exploitation; have in effect, decimated the island, wiping out neighborhoods and towns and causing a massive population shift to the U.S. and beyond.
We hope to raise and encourage public indignation to pressure local, state, and the federal government to:
- Prevent the eviction of the 40 + families about to be evicted on 20 April under FEMA’s temporary housing program across the nation.
- Prevent the eviction of all the families living under FEMA’s temporary housing program across the nation.
- Demand opening of service centers, provide financial support to social and service agencies that can provide guidance and tools to help these families establish a new life in here in New York City or anywhere in the continental United States.
- Devise a long-term plan for the short and long-term effects of more migration.
- Respect and Justice for Puerto Rico.
- Empower Puerto Ricans to remain, reclaim, and rebuild.
#OURPOWERPRNYC CAMPAIGN TO DEMAND A JUST RECOVERY IN PUERTO RICO
Six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, many Puerto Ricans are still struggling for survival and fighting to remain, reclaim, and rebuild. The crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico continues to magnify as the United States government interferes with emergency aid and threatens to bury Puerto Rico in more debt. What is happening in Puerto Rico is a climate crisis fueled by a long legacy of colonization and extraction. #OurPowerPRnyc is a community-led initiative of the Puerto Rican diaspora guided by the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing. To find out more and to join the #OurPowerPRnyc campaign visit, uprose.org.