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Puerto Rico in Distress

As I sat in Spanish class Thursday morning drifting off into the dark depths of la la land, I quickly came back to my senses when my teacher began to speak in English, a rarity.

“We’re going to stay in the English language because I want to talk about Puerto Rico. Many of you know I’m sure about Hurricane Maria and how it’s hit Puerto Rico. I haven’t been able to keep in contact with my family as cell phone service is down currently. I’ve made a PowerPoint presentation on what you can do to help.”

As my profesora began her presentation, I quickly saw the tragedy and depth of destruction of Puerto Rico and how the island is in utter devastation. I took my professor’s words and was invigorated to help.

The damage Hurricane Maria has done to the island of Puerto Rico will call for immense rebuilding and repairing of all of the island’s major structures. People are unable to contact their loved ones because cell service is down throughout the entire island. The citizens of the island are running on low resources, thanks to the Jones Act.

The Jones Act, founded in 1920, was originally made to promote shipping by U.S. owned operated vessels. Under the Jones Act, no non-United States ship is allowed to dock and import goods into Puerto Rico. Currently, under this law, islands and countries who would like to help Puerto Rico have to transport all of their goods to America, load them onto a U.S. owned boat, and then ship that to Puerto Rico, wasting a grandiose amount of time and money, and inevitably deferring people from helping. There has been a large push for President Trump to, not only waive, but abolish the act in this time of distress. He has obliged by waiving it for 10 days, which is clearly not enough to help all the people in need. Senator John McCain has done a sufficient amount of work to get the Jones Act waived and continues to do so, but needs support.

The people of Puerto Rico are in their highest time of need. With no clean water, food running low, and no way of communication, they are depending on us during this time of disparity. Here is a list of ways to help the cause:

To help attempt to disable the Jones Act: Contact Senator McCain and urge him to continue his work.

Contact your local politician and tell them why it is necessary to abolish this act.

To Donate to the people of Puerto Rico:

Save the Children

Hispanic Federation “Unidos”

United for Puerto Rico

The people are in need and we are the ones who will be able to help. People around you are being affected by this, unable to contact their loved ones. Do anything in your power to help these people during this crisis.

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