Today marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, one of the worst tropical storms on record. #HurricaneMaria
crashed into Puerto Rico at peak intensity as a category 4 storm. It destroyed nearly everything in its path, and claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Its citizens were without power, water, and basic human needs for far too long. It took nearly 328 days for power to be restored on the island. Families of those on the island were without communication for weeks, not knowing if their loved ones were alive, injured or dead.
merchandise coordinator, @_kasinatorphotos
, felt the storm’s devastation in her life. “My family was so greatly affected that the back of their house slid off the side of a cliff,” she says. “Honestly remembering this time and how my grandma was dying here and we couldn’t get in contact with her family [in PR]...they didn’t find out she died till after she passed...I miss my grandma. I miss her so much.”
Heartbreakingly, her story is not unique. The bottom line is that the people of Puerto Rico were left to suffer and die. This reminds us of other ways in which the people of Puerto Rico are oppressed and neglected. Puerto Rico is a US territory, and as such its people are US citizens, but are not allowed to vote, and have no real congressional representation even though the laws of our country affect their everyday life.
The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has magnified these inhumanities and inspired an even greater push to make PR the US’ 51st state. The way it is now, the US’ treatment of Puerto Rico as a territory is #colonialism
, plain and simple.
tweeted, “PR is still a #colony
of the United States. The island deserves real self-determination. We must say that to fix it.”
Recognizing the oppressive power structures in place within the United States and how it continues to act as a colonizing and discriminatory authority is integral to moving forward and deconstructing it. See our country for what it is, but also for what it could be. Donate your time, money and energy to your fellow citizens, the people of Puerto Rico.
Click the link in our bio to donate money to Puerto Rico relief efforts.