NEW YORK, NY – As the crisis in Puerto Rico intensifies, one group remains under reported by media and scholars alike: stateside Puerto Ricans. The number of United States based Puerto Ricans continues to increase on the heels of the crisis, and today more Puerto Ricans (5,266,738 million) live stateside than on the island. Yet little is known about the true social, economic and political implications of the crisis on this community. To demonstrate the scale and impact of the Puerto Rican crisis on the stateside community and the rest of the nation, on April 22 and 23 the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, will host stateside Puerto Ricans. Policy makers, scholars, religious and community leaders, as well as other Puerto Ricans and their allies from across the nation, will come together to map out solutions for the future. “The Puerto Rican population needs to be treated as a whole; we are 8.6 million people as one and we need to begin to understand our collective power. Only by seeing ourselves under one singular identity can we make the most progress as a people. Together, we can generate the strongest response to the crisis on the island in political spaces and create viable alternatives,” said Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, who will be joining the April event. A range of other key voices including Congressman José Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Illinois State Senator Iris Y. Martinez, New York State Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Antonio Weiss, labor leader Dennis Rivera and journalist Juan González, among others, will come together to take a deep dive into topics like civil rights and political participation, environment and community development, education, healthcare and more. Monseñor Roberto González Nieves, who was born in New Jersey and is today Archbishop of San Juan, will be speaking on the crisis stateside for the first time. “Puerto Rico is facing one of its most critical challenges in its history,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We’re seeing medical professionals leave the island, people are losing their jobs and the healthcare system is negatively impacted. The federal government has to let Puerto Rico restructure its debt. The current crisis is affecting 3.5 million on the island and for many living stateside as well. This is a humanitarian crisis. We need to stand in solidarity with the people in Puerto Rico, and it is critical that our voices are heard. There is still much work to be done, and that’s why we need to continue to drum up support here in the U.S. and on the island. We are more powerful together, and together we will be a voice for justice that cannot be ignored.” The event expands on several events in Florida and Washington, D.C. and throughout the rest of the country that have addressed the economic crisis on the island, focusing on its implications to the rest of the nation. “Partly as a result of the dire situation of friends and families in the island, and partly due to the challenges posed by the reshaping of the stateside Puerto Rican communities, the Puerto Rican diaspora has engaged in a solidarity movement unprecedented in our history. This is a new activism, an emergence of new civic and political leaders that we haven’t seen before. We are offering up our space, our research and knowledge about stateside Puerto Ricans to advance the understanding of the economic, fiscal and unfolding humanitarian crisis in support of the active engagement of our community in finding solutions to such historical challenges,” concluded Edwin Meléndez, Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, the leading think tank on Puerto Ricans in the United States. The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in participating should RSVP at https:// www.eventbrite.com/e/puertoricopuertoricanstickets. Contact Suset Laboy and Maria
Laboy via email at Lalaboypr@Lalaboypr.com or phone at (212) 772-5692 for additional information.