Fierce

She’s Not Running For President, But Oprah Did Just Donate Two Million Dollars for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

@IRislasque / Twitter

Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, arts and culture programs in Puerto Rico have received millions from media mogul, Oprah Winfrey. In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Maria claimed the lives of 3000 American citizens, in the US territory of Puerto Rico. However, disaster relief from the government has been slow to arrive. Fortunately, celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Anthony, and Bethenny Frankel are willing to give financial support.

For her part, Winfrey donated to The Hispanic Federation and The Flamboyan Arts Fund, one million dollars to each. The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program assists in providing basic needs to Puerto Ricans.

The Flamboyan Arts Fund is, according to People Magazine, “focused on continuing the island’s rich heritage of arts, culture and creative development.”

Meanwhile, President Trump who stated publicly that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them,” is still insisting, as recently as April 2, that Puerto Rico has received 91 billion in relief aid. In fact, only 40.7 billion dollars of relief have been approved by Congress. Furthermore, FEMA officials have gone on record saying only a fraction of the 41 million has made it to the island.

In a tweet that followed his announcement about the 91 million in aid, the president said that he is the best thing to ever happen to Puerto Rico.

Winfrey said, in a statement, that she was inspired by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to donate.

Miranda recently brought his Broadway play to Puerto Rico to help the island heal and to bring attention to the oft-forgotten arts in the recovery efforts after a disaster. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Quest Love mingled on opening night of the Puerto Rican production. Miranda, whose father is a native to Puerto Rico, reprised his role as Alexander Hamilton for the island. Oprah Winfrey attended the Puerto Rican production at the Bellas Artes in San Juan.

Winfrey’s donation has been covered by many news outlets and many on Twitter are praising Winfrey for her good deed.

This twitter user was quick to praise Winfrey after the news broke.

CNN and Telemundo contributor, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas praised Winfrey too.

Navarro-Cárdenas also noted the irony of the Trump administration’s suspect support of Puerto Rico in light of Winfrey’s donation. You may also recognize Ana Navarro-Cárdenas as a co-host on The View.

Some, however, have called Winfrey’s donation a publicity stunt.

Publicity stunt or case of no-good-deed-goes-unpunished?

The dead man referred to in the tweet is Michael Jackson. It appears Winfrey is being criticized for support of the portrayal of Michael Jackson in the recently released documentary Leaving Neverland. In her special Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Leaving Neverland, Winfrey interviews
James “Jimmy” Safechuck and Wade Robson who accused Jackson of sexual abuse in the documentary. The interviews were taped before an audience of sexual abuse survivors. Those criticizing Winfrey appear to devoted Michael Jackson fans, but Winfrey is also being accused on Twitter of protecting Harvey Weinstein. Connections to Weinstein remain unclear, especially in light of her acceptance speech for the Cecile B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes in 2018. The speech focused on racism, violence against women, and the #MeToo movement.

Only time will tell if Winfrey is being punished for her good dead, or if any revelations about shadowy allegations will be made. For now, her generosity towards Puerto Rico does seem to be infectious.

Florida Senator, Rick Scott is donating too.

Just one day after Oprah Winfrey announced that she would donate to the Puerto Rican relief efforts, Florida senator, Rick Scott made a similar announcement. Rick Scott has pledged a portion of his salary to aid Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who are now living in Florida.

Good deed or publicity stunt, it appears that Oprah Winfrey’s donation is inspiring others to give. The donation also appears to be keeping the spotlight on Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico, American citizens, many of whom have just recently had their electricity restored are still waiting for all 40 billion dollars of the aid committed by Congress to find its way to the island. They’d probably like to see the 91 billion that the president keeps talking about.

Puerto Rican Women Are Finding It Difficult To Access Abortion Related Health Care Putting Their Health At Risk

Things That Matter

Puerto Rican Women Are Finding It Difficult To Access Abortion Related Health Care Putting Their Health At Risk

piladeamor / Instagram

For those of you who may have been living under a rock, or just genuinely can’t keep up with the news now that there’s usually a new catastrophe or political gaffe from the Trump administration on a daily basis, it’s probably a good idea to recap what happened around Hurricane Maria.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating the region and sparking an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. While recovery efforts have been in the works, abortion care has been largely ignored by authorities, leading to another set of problems that need to be addressed before Puerto Rico can really say that it’s moved on from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Granted: there’s so much more to consider than just simply boosting abortion facilities in Puerto Rico.

According to a 2008 study in the Journal of Population Economics, birth rates increase in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Credit: kylleermell / Instagram

Let’s face it, anyone put in the same position would agree: if there’s no access to power, no way of really going anywhere, and there are zero things to do otherwise … you’re gonna have sex. Even though the world is pretty much falling apart around you! Part of the risks of this behavior, beyond focusing on bonking rather than safety awareness during a natural disaster, is the fact that condoms and other contraceptives aren’t necessarily readily accessible in this time. It means that if you’re not intending on getting pregnant, then this situation could put you in perilous circumstances.

The lack of regional resources after a natural disaster is not only hard af for new families – it’s also hard on people who are seeking ways to terminate their pregnancy. Where Puerto Rico is concerned, of the six abortion clinics on the main island, only one was in operation in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. However, it took nine days for that single clinic to get its doors open again. And from there, the damage from the cataclysmic storms meant that the centre didn’t have two air conditioning units or its heating system, and it had to run on a generator for three months. Because power was so expensive at this time, it meant that the clinic also had to cut its hours of operation. And if you think this is bad – that’s just the trials and tribulations of one clinic. Imagine the difficulty in trying to get others open.

Sure, there’s a problem. But aren’t there more important things to deal with in Puerto Rico, first?

Credit: cunyservicecorps / Instagram

Recovery from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been mighty slow. In fact, it took an entire year for power to be restored to the region. Poor sanitation in the area led to the spread of water-borne sicknesses, while spoiled food and contaminated drinking water also harmed the population. Pests and bugs further caused havoc and spread disease, in addition to mold and mildew. Not to mention the fact that cleanup activities also introduced further hazards to locals, and opened the potential for further injury and infections. Natural disasters are associated with a decline in the mental health of a population, too, meaning that psychological services are in dire need in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking, ‘why are we worried about access to abortion care when there are so many other, more urgent, things to think about’? And sure, you’re not entirely wrong. But the reality is that access to healthcare services in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is crucial for reducing further loss of human life. And that healthcare must be holistic. Because while healthcare is great for recovery from injuries and treating disease, these are reactive measures to the issue at hand. Family planning and abortion care fall into the category of preventative measures, to ensure that the unintended pregnancies don’t place further stress on very limited services and resources.

The issues we’re seeing now are part of bigger, systemic problems that must be addressed for Puerto Rico’s wellbeing.

Credit: aaron.fernandes476 / Instagram

As an unincorporated territory of the US, it stands to reason that Puerto Rico should have received considerable support from Washington DC. While no-one could forget the classic shot of Donald Trump basketball-shooting paper towels into a crowd of disaster-stricken Puerto Ricans, it’s been argued that the region was, overall, lacking in support and attention from the administration. And this criticism wasn’t a new thing. Puerto Rico’s been dealing with the Zika epidemic, which affected 1 in 7 newborns between 2016 and 2018, while also contending with the shutdown of 66 of 69 major hospitals in the region due to Hurricane Maria. It also has the highest poverty rate over any US state, while also getting less money and resource from the federal government for health programs. Yikes.

This raises questions around Puerto Rico’s representation in Washington: as it is not a state, it doesn’t have a vote in Congress. And, it only has one non-voting member of the House, known as a Resident Commissioner. Who knows what kind of improvements in assistance could have been made for Puerto Rico, if it had the right kind of political representation?

Beyond the federal level, Puerto Rico must also contend with the rise of conservatism.

Credit: senadora_naydavenegasbrownp / Instgram

Pushback against access to family planning services, which largely draws from pervasive religious doctrine, has risen in recent years. For example, 2018 saw a really aggressive attempts to restrict abortion access in Puerto Rico. While the Senator responsible for the bill, Nayda Venegas Brown, eventually pulled it from consideration, it was designed to institute a mandatory 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, parental consent for minors, and a ban on the procedure outright after 20 weeks gestation. And sure, while these may seem like pretty common laws for those living on mainland US, these kinds of restrictions are basically unheard of in Puerto Rico.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, these kinds of limitations would add even more complexity to unwanted pregnancies in Puerto Rico. For example, without access to appropriate healthcare services, people may not have even known about their pregnancy until much later in their gestational cycle. Another thing to consider is that, should there be complications in the pregnancy, women may have their lives further jeopardized by restrictions on performing abortions. And, minors who may not be in contact with their parents would then become dependent on those same parents to access an abortion. Indeed, it is fortunate that Puerto Ricans were not subject to such blanket laws – particularly while they’re still dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Maria.

So, for those of you sitting at home wondering what you can do about the predicament facing Puerto Rico, you’ve got a few options. It’s worth investigating charities in your local area that are dedicated towards providing support to Puerto Rico. Voting for candidates in the 2020 elections that have proposed policies to support Puerto Rico is also crucial. Additionally, improving awareness about women’s rights by sharing accurate information on social media – like this piece – can help break down the stigma around family planning.

60 Years Later, Poll Still Shows 2 In 3 Americans Support Statehood For Puerto Rico

Things That Matter

60 Years Later, Poll Still Shows 2 In 3 Americans Support Statehood For Puerto Rico

Alex George / Unsplash

It’s no secret that Puerto Ricans have been petitioning for statehood for as long as the island has been deemed a U.S. territory. But that doesn’t matter as much to Congress. Pues, it’s time to listen up, Congress, because a Gallup poll has recently shown that 66 percent of non-Puerto Rican Americans favor admitting the island into the Union.

That percentage average has remained constant since Gallup started asking the question in 1962. Only 7% of state-side Americans had no opinion and 27 percent opposed statehood.

Two years ago, Puerto Ricans polled at 97 percent in favor of statehood.

Credit: @no_rican / Twitter

Puerto Rico transferred into becoming a U.S. “territory” in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans pay for social security, income tax and other shared responsibilities of state residents, but they can’t sway the presidential election either way.

Forty-five percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats support statehood.

Credit: @HuttGia / Twitter

Given the corruption and its consequent protests underway in Puerto Rico, 45 has decided to chime in. In a tweet, President Trump said, “A lot of bad things are happening in Puerto Rico. The Governor is under siege, the Mayor of San Juan is a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn’t trust under any circumstance, and the United States Congress foolishly gave 92 Billion Dollars for hurricane relief.”

Puerto Ricans who support Trump are responding by telling him that they want him to include Puerto Rico as a U.S. state.

Others think Puerto Rico would be a moral drain to the U.S. government.

Credit: @ClydeFroggs / Twitter

Puerto Rico is calling on its Governor Ricardo Roselló to resign after a conversation was leaked during which he was using homophobic slurs against Ricky Martin, alongside misogynistic against San Juan’s mayor. The corruption is very real when it comes to Gov. Roselló, but he does not represent Puerto Rico any longer. Not in the hearts of Puerto Ricans after what is felt as a betrayal to the people.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has fueled the desire for statehood for others.

Credit: @VFernandez596 / Twitter

The delayed response from FEMA, and the shuffle of Puerto Ricans from FEMA assisted housing to the U.S. homeless shelter system has led many Boricuas to feel “less than” American. In fact, Puerto Ricans are 100% American.

Although the majority of all Americans support statehood, politics seems to be the greatest obstacle to democracy at the moment.

Credit: @charlievazquez / Twitter

Trump has been in a pissing contest between San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for her criticism of his treatment of Boricuas. He did throw paper towels at us. On top of that, protests have lined the streets of San Juan demanding that Governor Ricardo Roselló resign. 

Meanwhile, on the island, the very loud minority of folks who are anti-statehood are using the moment of chaos to express their views.

Credit: @kellydiazr / Twitter

Kelly Diaz tweeted a photo of “one of the protesters climbing to remove the American flag in front of the Puerto Rico Capitol and replace it with a black and white Puerto Rican flag.”

She aptly commented that it’s, “No surprise here, given that Ricky’s fiercest opponents belong to anti-statehood interest groups.”

With public opinion in favor, and the current events at hand, it may just be the perfect storm to put statehood on the political issue map.

Credit: @jhernandez2342 / Twitter

Democratic primaries are upon us and constituents are tweeting to the debate moderators requesting that the question of Puerto Rican statehood be included in the debate. So far, Julian Castro has been the first and only candidate to demand that #RickyRenuncia. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are notable candidates who have stated they want the Governor to answer to the Puerto Rican people. 

It’s hard to imagine that Trump would look to Puerto Rico as a resource to the Union after Hurricane Maria, but it all depends on 2020.

Credit: @AbroadVet / Twitter

The running feud between Trump and Puerto Rican leadership means that the U.S. Senate, currently taken by the GOP, would likely never approve a bill for Puerto Rican statehood.

Although this guy has a very interesting new option for the island.

READ: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

Paid Promoted Stories