Hurricane Maria: Latinos from Philly band together to raise money for Puerto Rico
Officials begin a campaign to raise money for relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
As Hurricane Marie makes its way north, the full extent of the devastation left in its wake can be seen in Puerto Rico.
Maria, along with Irma before her, left the island of Puerto Rico with extreme amounts of damage, potential loss of life, and residents with no power or communications. This means Puerto Rico has been cut off from the rest of the world, leaving hundreds of thousands of individuals looking for answers and information on their loved ones.
In Philadelphia, members of the Latino community banded together in order to offer whatever aid they could muster up for the people of Puerto Rico. Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and State Representative Angel Cruz organized a campaign called Unidos PA’ PR to raise money in an effort to aid the people of Puerto Rico.
At a press conference on September 21st, Sanchez, Cruz, and various other organizers gathered to announce the start of the Unidos PA’ PR campaign. Present at the conference was Mayor Jim Kenney. Kenney touch on the devastation left by Irma and Maria, using them as an example to always be ready in case of an emergency, but also used his time to comment on the growing issue of climate change. Overall, Kenney’s focus was on the people of Puerto Rico.
“Our focus is on the people of Puerto Rico,” said Kenney. “I urge every Philadelphian to step up in any way possible.”
With Puerto Rican week festivities happening this upcoming weekend, including the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, Unidos PA’ PR organizers want to use this time to get the Latino community to help. Over the weekend volunteers will be at events throughout the city asking for donations.
Concilio, The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, has agreed to take 100% of funds raised throughout this campaign and make sure it spent to aid those struggling in Puerto Rico due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Councilwoman Sanchez, like many others in the Latino community, has family in Puerto Rico. Sanchez was able to make brief contact with her loved ones, but many are still struggling to make contact. Sanchez said that "We are a resilient people," reminding people that Puerto Rico and her residents will make it through this.
Representative Cruz, like many, fears for his loved one's safety. But states that now is a time for action.
“Take a breath,” said Cruz. “The best you can do is pray and put all that emphasis together to help us raise the money.”