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LatinoJustice Statement on the 4th Year Anniversary of Hurricane Maria

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2021

Contacts:

Sarai Bejarano | Manager of Traditional & Digital Media | [email protected] | 212-739-7581
 

LatinoJustice Statement on the 4th Year Anniversary of Hurricane Maria
Islanders Still Recovering from the Devastation

NEW YORK - Today, September 20, 2021, marks the fourth-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The natural disaster took the lives of over 3,000 people, making it one of the deadliest in U.S. history, and the storm’s devastation can still be seen today.

Below is a statement by LatinoJustice PRLDEF President & General Counsel, Lourdes M. Rosado regarding this somber anniversary:

“Close to five decades ago, the migration of people from Puerto Rico to the U.S. and the discrimination they faced gave birth to our work at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. As community lawyers serving the Puerto Rican and Latino communities, our work includes fighting for language access for Puerto Ricans so they can obtain an education and exercise their right to vote, and ensuring access to civil service benefits, as well as appointments and elections to New York State courts. Today, on the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, we remember the thousands of lives lost and recommit ourselves to continue to work on behalf of the Puerto Rican diaspora and in support of our community living on the island.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, LatinoJustice worked alongside community groups providing direct services to Puerto Ricans fleeing the island as climate refugees and relocating in Florida, New York, and across the country. We filed litigation against FEMA on behalf of Puerto Ricans living in hotels under the Transitional Sheltering Agreement assistance program to support families in their efforts to find affordable housing. We also backed the amazing advocates on the island via Ayuda Legal Huracán Maria and continue our support of individuals and organizations who work tirelessly and advocate for a Puerto Rico that is untethered to the U.S. as the last Latin American colony of this country.   

LJP has never wavered in advocating on behalf of Puerto Ricans on the island. We stand at a critical moment in Puerto Rico’s history and to call for an end to her colonial status while we continue to work on behalf of the diaspora to receive the resources, respect, and justice they deserve. We call attention to the hearing set by the United States Commission on Civil Rights which will be held at the end of the year which continues the investigation into how FEMA failed the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Our support for the people of Puerto Rico extends to their fight against the privatization of its electrical grid and services. Puerto Rico deserves an investigation into the disastrous, multi-billion-dollar contract entered into with LUMA Energy, the power company responsible for power distribution and transmission on the island.  LUMA ENERGY has wildly mismanaged the power grid in Puerto Rico; as a result, Puerto Ricans are subject to inefficient and unreliable electrical services which causes constant disruption of electrical service around the entire island. LatinoJustice PRLDEF, along with our partner on the island, CAMBIO, urges the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee to investigate the contract with LUMA, as they are managing more than $14 billion in federal funds, as there are legitimate questions about their competence in serving the island."

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About LatinoJustice
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.LatinoJustice.org