Hurricane Irma Relief Network Update

This morning the CT Puerto Rican agenda held an organizing meeting where we heard from Luis Davila from the Puerto Rican Affairs Commission and got an update on the situation on the ground. While it looks like Puerto Rico avoided as big of a hit as was anticipated, there are still 800,000 people with out electricity and well over 100,000 without water. From our conversations with Mr. Davila we were able to pull together a coalition of CT Boricua and Latino organizations to begin the work to get our island, and all the islands of the Caribbean the help they need.

As a coalition we have issued the press release below. As the situation develops we will continue to keep everyone updated and find a way for everyone to help. There are many projects in the works, so please sign up on our volunteer form if you haven't already.

Also please contact your elected officials and make sure they understand that Puerto Rico and the nearby Islands are included in any FEMA or Hurricane relief funding packages.

Thank you all for your patience as we sort this out and create a solidarity network that will lift our island out from Irma, and come out stronger than ever.

¡Pa'lante!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CT Puerto Rican organizations unite to begin Hurricane Irma relief efforts

 

Primary contact: Jason Ortiz, 860 -639- 8101/  jasonjortiz@gmail.com

 

Secondary contact:Joseph Rodriguez, 203-887-9238 / joeerdrg@gmail.com

 

A coalition of Puerto Rican/ Latino - based organizations including the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda, Connecticut Institute for Community Development – Puerto Rican Parade in Hartford, The Center for Latino Progress, The San Juan Center, and several other community- based leaders are organizing a statewide Hurricane Irma Relief Network that will consist of resources and volunteer opportunities for CT residents to help with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Additionally, the coalition is working in tandem with CT elected leadership and the federal delegation to ensure federal assistance occurs as soon as possible, in particular, much needed efforts to improve Puerto Rico’s poor infrastructure.

 

“The primary need for our island will be to re-establish electricity for all of our vulnerable populations. Considering that our power infrastructure was already in dire need of repair, this will require federal assistance, and quickly. To accomplish this, we are asking everyone in every state to contact their elected officials and make sure that the 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico get the specific attention they need.” Said Jason Ortiz, CT Puerto Rican Agenda President.

 

“The outpouring of support, although a bit overwhelming, does not come as a surprise. This is who we are as Puerto Ricans. It is in our nature to come together to help others in times of distress” says Ana Valentin-Jackson, Board Chair of the Connecticut Institute for Community Development – Puerto Rican Parade in Hartford. “As a community organization, we are ready and poised to help with the efforts by partnering with the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda leadership and our colleagues in other organizations and agencies.”

 

One concern was the issue of holding supply drives before having the infrastructure in place to ensure all supplies and funds go to their intended recipients. “While we support everyone’s efforts organize to help, we will not begin collecting donations of supplies or money until we have a better grasp on the what the specific needs are, and have properly vetted ways of transferring money or other resources. Our goal as a coalition is to listen to the organizations on the island, hear what their needs are, communicate those needs to CT residents, and then help local communities organize to meet those needs” said Ortiz.” said Ortiz. “We encourage everyone who is interested in helping to sign our form as we wait to hear back from those on the island.  In the meantime please attend the various public events happening across the state and help us ensure our entire boricua community is having this conversation.”

 

For more information on how you can volunteer, please visit the CT Puerto Rican Agenda’s website at http://www.ctpuertoricanagenda.com/hurricaneirmasignup. We will also be available for comment at Senator Blumenthal’s press conference happening tomorrow Sept 8th at 12 noon at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.


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