My girl Anita, of Feminist Frequency, invited me to leave a message on her Feminist Answering Machine.
I was originally going to post about my #fortify collective self care project, but couldn’t focus on anything except for the crisis in Puerto Rico. Since the hurricane hit I’ve been waiting and waiting for some kind of mass mobilization by feminist organizations in this country. I’m still waiting.
And to be honest, I’m feeling a little abandoned by a movement I’ve dedicated my life to.
If you can’t figure out why Puerto Rican relief efforts are a feminist issue—here is about a minute of me trying to explain it:
Where Are The Pussy Hats for Puerto Rico? Jessica N. Pabón-Colón on Feminist Answering Machine
Here are some things you can do, courtesy of Defend PR, if after watching the video you find yourself asking: like what?
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES! and tell them to:
Extend FEMA deadline
Puerto Ricans have 60 days from the date that the President declares the area a disaster to apply for federal aid. The majority of Puerto Ricans remain without electricity and access to basic communication. This deadline is nearly impossible to meet under the current circumstances in Puerto Rico. We demand an extension so that ALL affected have the opportunity to file individual claims in a reasonable amount of time.
Repeal the Jones Act
The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States, owned, and operated by American citizens. Shipping costs from the United States (stateside) to Puerto Rico have been estimated to be twice as much as from neighboring foreign islands. The Jones Act has been instrumental in devastating Puerto Rico’s economy and our people. A 10 day waiver from the White House, is wholly inadequate to address the (decades old) harm it imposes on Puerto Rico and to begin to recover from Hurricane Maria. As such, we demand that the Jones Act be repealed for Puerto Rico.
Cancel the Debt
We call on Congress to absolve Puerto Rico of their current billion dollar debt. Any efforts to reconstruct Puerto Rico in the aftermath of this (un)natural, political disaster requires bondholders, debtors, and insurers to take their losses. The austerity that has been imposed by Congress as a result of the debt, must be replaced by legislation that would help Puerto Rico recover, not drown further. To move closer to recovery, we demand that the debt be fully canceled.
[YOUR SENATOR / CONGRESS MEMBER’S NAME], it’s been over a month since Hurricane Maria devastated our island of Puerto Rico. We demand that you TAKE ACTION NOW! There are 5.3 million Puerto Ricans and countless allies in the U.S. calling for JUSTICE FOR PUERTO RICO. What does that look like?
The federal government’s response needs to be increased immediately. We demand that Congress Extend FEMA deadline, Repeal the Jones Act, and Cancel the Debt so that Puerto Ricans can receive the aid that they need to rise and rebuild.
Will [SENATOR/CONGRESS MEMBER’S NAME] ensure that we get this done?