Hurricane Maria Assistance for Puerto Rico

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     At this moment in our vulnerable nation’s history, I stand deeply concerned as a United States citizen. My name is Louis Romero Jr. and I am a young millennial leader of Puerto Rican descent. I live on the United States mainland and I put forward this petition with a vigorous constitution derived from compassion and empathy. Puerto Rico is currently undergoing a severe humanitarian crisis due to Hurricane Maria that impacted the island on Wednesday (09-20). The damages inflicted upon regular human life are now projected to exceed $30 billion. The entire island is without power. Approximately ten families have lost their loved ones and this number will continue to increase if immediate further assistance is not promised to our fellow American people who reside on the island during this crucial period of time.

     Before Hurricane Maria, our American children and families living on the island of Puerto Rico were suffering with a higher poverty rate than any of the 50 U.S. states. The U.S. Census in 2014 estimated that 58 percent of Puerto Rico’s children live below the federal  poverty level. This hurricane poses the potential to exacerbate the extreme unfortunate conditions that plagued the beautiful island before the natural disaster occurred last week. I, along with my other fellow young leaders of Puerto Rican descent, call upon the Executive Branch to act in an expedited manner to ensure the enduring well being of our fellow 3.5 million Puerto Rican brothers and sisters living on the island. As a young man with Puerto Rican ancestry who has called Puerto Rico his home, I am gravely concerned for the plight of my fellow citizens who are suffering through deepening despair with each passing hour.

     My prudent heart is heavy, just as millions of others, due to this ongoing state of despair. We worry about the millions of families without water, gasoline, food, and other pertinent necessities. The great young leaders of Puerto Rican descent, who have always been citizens along with their descendants now demand further action. The time is now to act with relentless vigor. Just as we came together as the United States around Hurricane Irma and Harvey, it is now high time for this administration to provide the necessary long-term aid that is surely warranted. Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was struggling in ways that are unimaginable to those living on the mainland. Both the inhabitants of the United States Virgin Islands and now Puerto Rico have suffered through consecutive natural disasters.

     It is absolutely inconceivable that it would take months to restore full power back to the our fellow American citizens. This matter is one rooted in humanity and common sense that upholds the welfare of all humankind. The Puerto Rican people are highly educated and hard-working. We do not deserve to be left behind, just as the wonderful people of the U.S. Virgin Islands should not be excluded from continued assistance in the long-term. The children of these 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico must not be forgotten because they too are American citizens.

     This is not a time for political exchange. A full disaster declaration must be made by our President, so that all municipalities will be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants thereby ensuring that local residents can rebuild their homes.There must be a waiving of the local cost-sharing requirement for emergency funds, so that our fellow citizens are not inhibited by additional debt as a nation. The heroic duties on behalf of the many first responders and military service members is surely underway, however more still needs to be done to safeguard indelible prosperity of my beloved island of Puerto Rico. More importantly, this administration has an American duty to put forward an interim emergency aid request and the Majority Senate Leader has a civic responsibility to put this package forward for a vote.

     This is our current humanitarian crisis that will require empathy through understanding and compassion through a relentless will to act. I politely and respectfully ask that our fellow citizens sign this petition out of our social contract to each other during this tough time. I also ask that this administration act in both the short and long term interest of the American people who reside as natives of the island of Puerto Rico. Why do our fellow citizens deserve to be left behind under feudal constraints? Let this current catastrophe not portend harsher conditions, but please let an end result bring our citizens closer together.

 

 



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