In September, Puerto Rico fell victim to Hurricane Maria’s destructive path. While many eyes nervously watched as devastation swept through the small island, many weren’t and still aren’t aware of the magnitude of this event.
While death tolls were low, TIME magazine spotlights the aftermath in a compelling piece titled A Land They No Longer Recognize.
NBC reported that just two weeks ago less than half of Puerto Rico has power, even two months after the hurricane hit. While the road to recovery may be long, people like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ricky Martin and Tesla Founder Elon Musk are helping to get people back on their feet. Even still, there is so much to be done. When speaking to my friend and Puerto Rico native, Yarelis wanted one message to be heard.
KC: What is the biggest misconception about Puerto Rico?
YS: The biggest misconception about Puerto Rico is that people think that we are not part of the United States. We first became a U.S. territory following the Spanish-American War, which was ignited by the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898.
KC: What is one thing you wish people knew about Puerto Rico?
YS: That we are also American citizens. We don’t need a visa to travel to the US and we have the same currency.
KC: What do you wish people in the states knew about the recent devastation?
YS: Although [we are] part of the US territory, we have not received the equal help like others states that also have been affected by natural disasters.
KC: How can we help?
By treating Puerto Ricans as equals, like any American citizen.
With the holidays quickly approaching, I encourage you to look for new ways to open both your heart and your mind to new ideas and new ways to give.