Twice affected by Hurricane Irma, Puerto Ricans living in Florida are organizing to send aid to the island, while overcoming losses caused by the cyclone.
In her advance in the Caribbean, Irma passed through northeastern Puerto Rico, where she left losses worth $ 1 billion, according to island authorities, after which she arrived in Florida and other areas of the southeastern United States where at least 39 people are killed.
In Florida, the cyclone made its impact felt in Orlando, in Central Florida, where a large community of Puerto Ricans, who in recent days have organized to help Puerto Ricans “from here and there.”
“At the beginning we organized to bring help to Puerto Rico through the office of the First Lady (Beatriz Isabel Roselló) of Puerto Rico, but after the passage of Irma here, we are concentrating efforts, both for the island and for the victims in our communities, “Socorro Ramos Avilés, coordinator of the Puerto Rican Action Initiative, told Efe.
This organization, focused on the Latino communities of central Florida, is part of the Support, Solidarity and Assistance Coordinator (CASA), which for a few days has “consolidated support for the island and now also for those impacted by this hurricane in Orlando, Kissimmee, Apopka and surrounding cities, “explains Ramos Avilés.
CASA is composed of more than a dozen non-profit organizations, some of whose representatives will gather from this Sunday at the Centro Acacia Borinquen, which will become a collection center to collect donations in favor not only of those affected by Irma in Puerto Rico but also in the Virgin Islands.
“25% of the economic contributions will be dedicated to local needs in Florida,” said Ramos Avilés.
This coalition plans to even join the “telemarathon” organized by the first lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Roselló, for October 1 on the island, for which they are in the midst of negotiations with local television stations in central Florida to be part of that special.
Facing this and other goals, last Friday held a meeting in the offices of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, which also included representatives of the Hispanic Federation organization, as well as student groups and representatives of the offices of legislators state and congressman by Orlando Darren Soto.
The solidarity that arose after the passing of Hurricane Irma, which left floods and floods in Apopka and Kissimmee, two towns with a large population of Puerto Ricans and Hispanics, has also motivated the coordination of aid for young people benefiting from DACA, according to Efe Rafael Palacio, director in Florida of the Hispanic Federation.
US President Donald Trump ended last week’s DACA, enacted with an executive order in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama, and which has protected from deportation and granted work permits to 800,000 “dreamers”.
“We have decided to accelerate the approval of emergency funds to help dreamers with the $ 495 needed to renew DACA, because we understand that many of these families may have used the resources available to renew their DACA permit in anticipation of the passage of Irma for the region, “Palacio said.
“We want to avoid Irma’s step, leave our dreamers without their identity,” he added.
In that sense, the Hispanic Federation is coordinating with the Hope Community Center (HOPE) in Apopka, one of the cities most impacted by the hurricane, to identify “dreamers” and help them apply for financial aid so they can make the renewal of your permits before October 5, deadline to carry out the procedure.
“Our Puerto Rican community has been the most impacted by the hurricane,” says Palacio, since in addition to fighting to solve their immediate problems and needs after Irma’s passage, they keep their eyes on their relatives and friends on the island.
“It was a double devastation for them,” said Palacio.
CASA will start from this Sunday its campaign of collecting donations “to help the Puerto Ricans here and there,” as Ramos Avilés said.