Press Statement on Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

This morning a number of organizations in cooperation with Senator Blumenthal held a press conference on CT Hurricane Irma relief efforts. Video should be out shortly, but here is the statement made by Agenda President Jason Ortiz


My name is Jason ortiz, and I am the PResident of the CT Puerto Rican Agenda. The CT Puerto Rican Agenda (CT-PRA) is the Connecticut chapter of the National Puerto Rican Agenda (NPRA), which is a non-partisan alliance of national and local organizations, elected and community leaders, and volunteers. The alliance was born out of a collective desire to address Puerto Rico’s economic crisis and promote Puerto Rican political and civic participation in Connecticut and the United States.


First and Foremost I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Blumenthal for standing with the Puerto Rican community both in the good but most importantly during difficult times. You’re consistent and thoughtful attention to our community  is much appreciated and we are honored to stand with you today to address this difficult but important issue. Thank You!


I would also like to thank the Center for Latino Progress, The Hartford Puerto Rican Parade, the San Juan Center and our friends and allies in the CT Puerto Rican Caucus That you for your efforts and enthusiasm in addressing the needs of our people.


While we seemed to have averted a complete disaster,According to El Nuevo Dia, more than one million US citizens are without power and two hundred thousand (200K) are without running water.  To put the power outage into perspective that would mean that the entire State of Rhode Island would be without power.  


Furthermore, downed trees and powerlines continue to impede the recovery process in many rural communities that solely depend on their roads for food and supplies.  This situation, if not attended to expeditiously, is a recipe for disaster on U.S soil.


While the process of assessing damage is already in motion by FEMA and countless other agencies we ask that they expeditiously report their findings to the public and to Senator Blumenthal. We look forward to their assessment reports and in finding ways on how we can collaborate our joint efforts.


The Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda, along with countless other agencies, will merge our networks to address the recovery process in Puerto Rico. We see our role as the convening organization of the Hurricane Irma Relief Network as 4 things.


  1. Reaching organizations on the island and listening to what their needs are

  2. Communicating those needs to our various CT based community stakeholders

  3. Helping local initiatives organize support that matches the needs of the island

  4. Ensuring all funds or donations raised through are network are properly accounted for and reach their intended audience.

Until we have our networks operational, we ask the public to focus on contacting your State and Federal legislators and demand they put partisanship aside and allocate immediate emergency funds towards recovery efforts.  


In addition if you would like more information, volunteer or make a donation visit our web page


In addition we have partnered with the Hispanic federation to begin collecting donations via text message. In CT, individuals can text to pledge donations for Hurricane Irma Campaign.  From any cell phone a donor may Text the word “Unity” to 414-44. You will receive a text with a secure link to complete the donation.  


We want to ensure that people within our state understand this is a local/CT state initiative driven by this collective.  Therefore, the third option for donors is donate by check.  All checks should be made payable to Hispanic Federation with CT-Irma Relief in the Memo section of the check and sent to Hispanic Federation, Connecticut State Office, 175 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Hartford, CT 06106.


And in closing I want to express that Puerto Ricos infrastructure problems are not new and were not caused by any one hurricane. Our island has been in a state of crisis for decades. We need everyone in the Puerto Rican community to stand up and demand that Puerto Rico be given the investment and support it needs to rebuild our economy, not just our powerlines.


In closing I would like to repeat that our primary goal right now is federal and state action to address infrastructure repair for the electric grid in Puerto Rico. The second goal is to coordinate volunteer networks, and in that we ask for patience as the channels are set up. If you are already holding a supply drive, please be prepared to hold on to any goods for at least two weeks as we figure out what is needed and how best to get it there.


Thank you all for your time and thank you again to Senator Blumenthal for holding this press conference.


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