It’s been nearly one month since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing billions of dollars worth of damages and in the process, leaving 3.4 million island residents without power, food, water, and telecommunications. Recovery is estimated to take years, if not decades. The question of “What can we do to help?” has been a crucial first step in responding to the destruction and unfolding humanitarian crisis. Yet even we waited to reconnect with loved ones, the diaspora came together, just as the Puerto Rican people on the island, to begin the rebuilding effort. It has been heartening to see the collection drives, fundraising campaigns, and other initiatives in support of Puerto Rico.
More than ever, the Puerto Rican diaspora must play an important role, not just with the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the island and disaster relief for the American citizens of Puerto Rico, but also assist the thousands of people who are relocating to stateside communities. To that end, Centro has produced a data brief on the number of new arrivals estimated to make their way to the mainland as a result of Hurricane Maria (to access the report, click here). In addition, we have launched Rebuild Puerto Rico, a centralized repository for all information related to the recovery effort.
Later this month, on October 28th, Centro will also be partnering with the Puerto Rican Studies Association, or the PRSA, to host a symposium for scholars of the diaspora and the island concerned with issues related to the ongoing economic, fiscal, and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The event will mark another addition to our Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans summit series. Hurricane Maria has of course changed the very nature of the conversations to be had, which will be reflected in the program of the event. Papers will also be published in a special issue of the CENTRO Journal on Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rico.
As space will be limited, we urge all of those interested to attend, as this will be an opportunity to meet and engage with key leaders of the diaspora and Puerto Rico. The day-long event, which will take place at the Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem, will explore ways how to help #RebuildPR, not just in the emergency phase, but also in recovery and reconstruction. Moreover, topics ranging from energy, politics and government, economic development, food and agriculture, education, environment, and so on, will be addressed.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the Centro Nation Builder page here.
Founded in 1992, The Puerto Rican Studies Association for Research Advocacy and Education, Inc. brings together scholars, educators, public policy experts, artists, community activists and students from diverse fields of knowledge whose work focuses on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans in the United States, or both. Our members work in a variety of institutions, including colleges and universities, research and public policy centers and non-profit organizations located in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean region, Canada and Europe.