A message from the Madison for Puerto Rico student group:
Today we write to you with a heavy heart. As you may have seen, the devastation of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria is unprecedented. The island’s electric grid has failed, telecommunication towers are down, crops were lost, and supplies are running low. Puerto Ricans are very resilient, but this time, optimism is fading quite fast for those living on the island.
Puerto Rican students feel impotent being far away from our loved ones. Some of us have waited almost a week to hear that our loved ones are safe, others have not been able to communicate yet. Some of our families lost everything or have lost their source of income.
Our island needs your HELP! Many have asked how they can help. Below are some ways to help from afar:
1.) USE YOUR VOICE. Puerto Ricans are USA citizens, yet we do not have representation in Congress and have no say in legislation towards relief efforts. Please call your representatives. Ask them how they are going to help out Puerto Rico in the short term and long.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (202) 224-5653
Representative Mark Pocan (202) 225-2906
Senator Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323
2.) UW-Madison Hurricane Relief Drive: We are setting up a donation container on the 1st floor of Microbial Sciences Building. Most need items are: clothes, linens, pillows, blankets, and shoes.
3.) Donate money to a responsible party. The level of destruction is astounding. 3.5 million US Citizens on the island will face 3-6 months without electricity. Here are some trusted sources:
- Gofundme – MadisonForPuertoRico-Maria: UW Graduate Students funds to help cover shipping costs of donations.
- Generosity – HelpPRDespacito.com: ConPRometidos, an NGO that has built a good reputation around the island for its work. All proceeds to relief efforts.
- United for Puerto Rico: Initiative brought forth by the First lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló in collaboration with the private sector. Tax-deductible.
- Click & Pledge – Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund: Administered by Taller Salud a well-established NGO known for its grassroots work. They will distribute the funds to with other grassroots orgs.
4.) Sign a petition: The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can’t stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flagships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security has DENIED a waiver, they need pressure from us!
We are optimistic that Puerto Rico will get through this with our help. Let’s demonstrate that Madison cares.
Madison for Puerto Rico group