The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
Puerto Rico Still Struggling after
vulnerable to disease and additional suffering. To the Black and Brown people who claim the island as home, being treated like second-class
citizens didn’t just happen with Hurricane Maria. Did I mention that Puerto Ricans can serve in the U.S. military but don’t have full voting rights.
They have limited representation in Congress.
The trump administration’s response to the catastrophe has been criminally negligent but predictable. When San Juan’s mayor criticized the
slow and apathetic relief efforts, the inept president accused her of "poor leadership" and went so far as to claim that the hard-working people
were not helping themselves.
In fact, the country has been besieged with carpetbaggers salivating over no-bid government contracts, super-exploiting the already dire
situation. Like the $300 million no-bid contract to Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island’s power grid with two full-time employees.
Although the migration of Puerto Ricans to Wisconsin dates back to the 1940’s, the bulk of them settled in Milwaukee. The highest populations
of Puerto Ricans outside the island are in the states of New York and Florida. The sizeable Puerto Rican population in the U.S. has been deeply
impacted by the suffering of their loved ones back home.
The people of Puerto Rico — as hard-working as they are — cannot make a full recovery without major bucks at work. Individuals such as long-
time racial justice organizer Rosa Clemente and Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame are using their position and voice to shine a spotlight on
the pressing needs of their homeland.
In Madison, grad students from the University of Wisconsin at Madison set up a GoFundMe account to raise monies. Madison for Puerto Rico
#Maria exceeded its goal of $10K. There may be other efforts in the Duane County area to support recovery that are worthy of your time and
The rest of us non-Puerto Rican, freedom-loving, justice-seeking people have a responsibility too. We must fire up trump to get some serious
resources to the country now and to work with Puerto Rican officials to develop a long term reconstruction plan.
Simultaneously, we must also support the independence movement in Puerto Rico whatever form that self-determination takes. For this
government, propelled by our tax dollars, to still be a colonizer in 2017 is unconscionable.
It seems like the only people talking about Puerto Rico’s future after the devastation of Hurricane Maria are Puerto
Ricans or those who know a Puerto Rican. Puerto Ricans raised the same rallying cry as those in Nawlins in the
face of racist government indifference after Hurricane Katrina: Ain’t I a U.S. Citizen!
According to one poll, nearly half of all Americans don’t know that the Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. They don’t
even know that the little country of 3.5 million residents has been a U.S. colony since 1898 with its indigenous
people forced to become U.S. citizens in 1917. I say “forced” because since that fateful day, Puerto Ricans have
been fighting for independence and against the colonial domination of the U.S government. This history of this
colonization and the Puerto Rican people’s proud and protracted struggle to their oppression is complicated and
worth the research.
We’re now two months out from Maria hitting the island with all of her might and fury. Most of the country is still
without power and all the problems that come with it. There’s limited access to fresh water, making residents