#OurPowerPRnyc is a coalition of over two dozen New York based community organizations that united in the fall of 2017 to provide assistance to those on the frontlines in Puerto Rico dealing with the disastrous effects of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and the man-made "hurricane" called PROMESA, the Puerto Rican Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act.
More than eight months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, many Puerto Ricans are still struggling for survival, and fighting to remain, reclaim, and rebuild. The crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico continues to magnify as the United States government interferes with emergency aid and threatens to bury Puerto Rico in more debt. What is happening in Puerto Rico is a climate crisis fueled by a long legacy of colonization and extraction.
Puerto Rican grassroots leaders have launched the #OurPowerPRnyc campaign to ensure that emergency response and recovery efforts are informed by a set of principles that will prevent oppressive systems from being replicated on the island. The #OurPowerPRnyc campaign is a grassroots effort to unite the Puerto Rican Diaspora under a shared platform to address injustices in the US government's response to the crisis, demand Puerto Rican self-determination and sovereignty, and ensure a just recovery and transition to a regenerative economy. #OurPowerPRnyc is calling for the following immediate demands:
Drop the Debt: Puerto Rico's debt crisis is a direct result of colonialism and austerity policies inflicted on the island by the US government. In order to survive this crisis Puerto Rico needs full debt relief to focus on emergency response and a just recovery and just transition from the extractive economy.
Repeal the Jones Act: The Jones Act is an unfair and outdated law that has delayed relief and increased shipping costs to Puerto Rico. The devastation in Puerto Rico will require unrestricted access to imported goods and resources for any foreseeable future and the free movement of relief for an indefinite period. Therefore, the Jones Act needs to be permanently lifted.
Show Solidarity & Support: Many Puerto Ricans are still without access to power, clean water, and fresh healthy food. We call on the international community to recognize the organizing happening in Puerto Rico by Puerto Ricans, and assist with emergency aid by supporting grassroots brigades in the equitable distribution of aid on the ground.
Say NO to The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA): The issue of Puerto Rico's status as a US territory cannot be divorced from emergency response and recovery initiatives. Puerto Rico's status is one of the root causes that left Puerto Rico with crippling debt and crumbling infrastructure before the storm. It has also hindered the ability of Puerto Ricans on the island to resource the emergency response and recovery work that needs to be done.
Push for a Just Recovery & Transition: FEMA is currently pushing policies to promote relocation rather than rebuilding, paving the way for disaster capitalism, displacement, and gentrification. A just recovery ensures that Puerto Ricans remain on the island to preserve Puerto Rican culture and way of life. It also requires Puerto Rican self-determination and sovereignty to govern resources in harmony with the needs of the people and the earth.
Support Puerto Rican Climate Refugees: Many Puerto Ricans are being displaced from the island out of necessity, not choice. As Puerto Ricans flee the island for safety in New York City, we must support them in meeting their basic needs, transitioning to life in New York City, and connecting them with local community support resources.
Reject the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act": Puerto Rico is a colony of the U.S. but treated like a foreign country when it comes to taxes. This tax bill would apply a 20% tariff on imports made in Puerto Rico. This would also apply to products manufactured by a U.S. company's subsidiaries burying Puerto Rico further into debt.
If you are interested in joining #OurPowerPRnyc as an organization or as an individual member, please contact us via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.