Social justice nonprofits launch Fiona Community Response Fund
Ten Puerto Rico-based nonprofit organizations fighting for social justice in Puerto Rico launched the Fiona Community Response Fund to provide a response to communities and residents they serve in Puerto Rico.
Maria Fund, Taller Salud, HASER, the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation, Rico, Agitarte, Revista étnica, Puerto Rico Legal Aid, Casa Tallaboeña, and the Puerto Rico Agroecological Institute launched have come together to act.
“We could’ve been better prepared after Maria. It’s our duty to denounce that, not only are they responsible for not being prepared, but that they created the conditions for a Category 1 hurricane to devastate us,” said Tania Rosario, director of Taller Salud, a community-based, feminist nonprofit organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, reducing violence in community settings, and fostering economic development through education and activism.
“They tied our hands so we couldn’t recover appropriately… and now, they hinder our recovery by saying that we have no needs,” she said.
Taller Salud is in Loíza, a town in the northeastern region of Puerto Rico where there are still isolated, flooded communities from Fiona’s rain.
“The government insists on minimizing the crisis that working people are experiencing, including teachers in Puerto Rico. They take advantage of these natural disasters to fill their pockets and advance their political careers,” said Mercedes Martínez, president of the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation, a labor union founded in 1966 to defend public education, the students’ right to a meaningful, equitable and accessible education as well as the rights of active and retired teachers and community schools.
She added that when Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said in a news conference earlier this week that “humanitarian aid is not needed, because there are no logistics in place to receive it,” he reaffirmed that “five years after Hurricane María and with a projected highly active hurricane season, the government did not bother to put in place an appropriate strategy to process upcoming aid and resources.”
“This government just responds and doesn’t plan; it’s a government that lets us die time after time. A government that does not assume their responsibility with the people they were elected to serve,” she said.
Xiomara P. Caro Díaz, executive director of María Fund Puerto Rico, called on the community in the US mainland and internationally to donate to the new fund.
“Five years after Hurricane María and here we are again, assuming their responsibility and building bridges of solidarity,” she said. “There’s an urgent need to save lives, and these are trusted and vetted organizations that in recent years have responded to multiple disasters, and at the same time have put the spotlight on the urgent need for structural changes.”