Updated: Jun 22
In this post, we will share relevant news and resources to get involved in relief efforts for Puerto Rico in the context of Hispanic/Latine Heritage Month. We will also spotlight one amazing Latine activist, so be sure to read until the end!
Current Events: Puerto Rico Power Outages
Five years after the devastation of Hurricane Maria that led to over 3,000 deaths on the island, Puerto Rico is faced with a new array of challenges brought on by Hurricane Ian, and soon after, Hurricane Fiona. Power outages, injuries, and lack of shelter raise concern about how the Biden administration will respond in the aftermath of these events, as Florida responds to its own contact with Hurricane Ian as a Category 4 storm. Federal relief after Hurricane Maria was greatly delayed, and without Congressional representation, many fear that Puerto Rico will be left to deal with the compounded damage of these natural disasters on its own. The Dominican Republic also faced a significant death toll and damage from flooding. FEMA and other federal agencies have begun to consider restructuring their funding measures so that they may distribute money and resources at faster rates in response to Hurricane Fiona. As American investors find a lucrative market in creating short-term rental homes with the drop in property prices after Hurricane Maria and Fiona, this wave of economic opportunity does not reflect the economic toll of these disasters on Puerto Rico. Last week, President Biden announced $60 million in aid to Puerto Rico and pledges to follow through with the necessary relief measures that the island lacked after Maria.
Latine Activist Spotlight: Sage Dolan-Sandrino
Sage Dolan-Sandrino is a Cuban-American trans woman, artist, and journalist who advocates for transgender people and for kids of color. Outed as a transgender girl at the young age of thirteen, she faced many injustices and made it her mission to combat them. As a teenager, she worked with the National Center for Transgender equality and the Human Rights Campaign, where she served on the board, to advocate for fellow trans students. Also, she has spoken for GLAAD to improve LGBTQ+ education and at the 2021 Young Leaders Time 100 Talk. Sage also served as an ambassador for White House Educational Excellence initiative centered on African American youth, helped develop the Obama Title IX protections for trans youth, and was a Trans Youth advisor. In June 2021, pride month, she collaborated with a press secretary at the White House to address transgender equality. Today, much of her activism manifests in her company TEAMMag where queer, black, and brown bodies are predominately represented. TEAMMag is an art platform that focuses on changing the narratives assigned to marginalized groups and celebrating them. Her artistry is also represented in the Disney+ docuseries Growing Up, and she broadcasts her voice as a journalist for teen vogue. Dolan-Sandrino's work has changed the country and undoubtably deserves to be celebrated.
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