31 Days of Gratitude
Join me as I celebrate all I have to be thankful for during the month of October. Why October instead of November? One more day! Enjoy and be blessed.
Puerto Rican women have a reputation for being fiercely strong. I can certainly attest to that fact. The women in my family have been solid as a rock when everything around them is crumbling or when the rug has been pulled out from underneath them. However, I watched this amazing women, the Mayor of Puerto Rico’s capitol city, speak with passion and honesty about the state of her hometown.
Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was the only voice for her people and eventually for the entire island. She conveyed the true state of hurricane devastation and the urgency required for the circumstances she was given. She reached out repeatedly only to have the president of the United States, a fascist, racist, misogynist idiot who felt threatened by a strong woman of color. He couldn’t see past her to understand the impact of a disaster that was well beyond Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.
She was poised and well within her right to have righteous anger about the speed and flow of emergency response by the Federal government as if they were not US citizens. The order to commence Federal agency response sat on the president’s desk for days while an exact same order for Texas was signed before the printer ink dried.
Mayor Cruz realized Puerto Ricans were getting dissed for no good reason while the president realized he screwed up royally so he decided to lie about how amazing the Federal response was going. Mayor Cruz kept telling the truth, which was there was no Federal relief or aid coming in, while the president lied and lied and lied. She finally ripped off the Band-Aid and spoke on behalf of her people. Puerto Ricans were starving. Roads that were cleared that could get much needed food, water, fuel and supplies were bereft of any military caravans, soldiers, paratroopers or military air drops.
Bureaucratic paperwork kept desperately needed aid from US citizens including the US Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. Mayor Cruz was relentless in her quest for aid for her people. She didn’t care who was offended. She was hoping other NGOs would come after she put out an SOS because there was obviously zero Federal response by FEMA.
Even though the president slammed her, I love her. She stood for her people and didn’t relent until help arrived. The response is still abhorrent because the federal government still has underestimated the scale of devastation and even a three-star general backed up Mayor Cruz by stating he doesn’t have enough resources to rescue and provide relief.
I love that girl and am praying for the whole of the Caribbean. God bless her and Puerto Rico, a land of enchantment. Lin Manuel Miranda, creator of the Tony-award winning Broadway play, Hamilton, has released a song featuring several Latino artists to raise money for Puerto Rico relief efforts.