Things That Matter

Puerto Rico’s Governor Is Ignoring More Than A Million Puerto Ricans As He Refuses To Give Up Power

Puerto Rico is in full on crisis mode as more than a million Puerto Ricans take to the city streets demanding the governor’s resignation after a series of shocking scandals. Basically every single segment of society has been wronged by the governor and they want him out.

From leaked text messages that were openly misogynistic and homophobic to major allegations of fraud and corruption, Puerto Ricans have had enough and they’re making sure their voices are heard.

Puerto Ricans fed up with their governor took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to protest against their government.

Puerto Rico saw more massive protests on Monday as hundreds of thousands lined the streets following Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s attempt to cling on to power despite resigning as president of the ruling New Progressive party and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.

A general strike took place across the US territory on Monday morning, protesters chanting the now familiar cry of “Ricky renuncia!”, waving flags and banging drums.

For the governor’s part, in a Facebook Live post, he admitted that a “huge portion of the population is unhappy.”

So he announced he won’t run for re-election next year and was resigning as the president of the New Progressive Party. But that did nothing to calm angry protesters, who say they won’t rest until Rosselló resigns.

I mean the crowds are huge!

Monday marked the tenth straight day of massive protests across the island, but most agreed that Monday’s turn out was the biggest yet.

Many were calling it a general strike as more than a million Puerto Ricans (out of a population of 3.4 million) poured into the streets, parks, plazas, and even shopping centers.

Even Bad Bunny, Residente, and Ricky Martin are there showing their support for protesters.

Credit: @CNNEE / Twitter

As occurred last week, a number of Puerto Rico’s biggest recording artists appeared prominently at Monday’s demonstrations. Singers such as Ricky Martin, himself a subject of homophobic ridicule in the leaked messages, and rappers Resident, Bad Bunny and the singer iLe, have become unofficial figureheads in the leaderless movement to oust Rosselló.

“They mocked our dead, they mocked women, they mocked the LGBT community, they made fun of people with physical and mental disabilities, they made fun of obesity. It’s enough,” Martin said in a video posted on Twitter before the march.

“We’re we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep being on the streets until he resigns,” iLe told the Guardian. “He knows he has to go in his heart. I know he knows it.”

Protesters aren’t messing around. They’re taking to the streets and blocking access to major highways.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

Puerto Rico’s largest mall, Plaza de las Américas, closed before Monday’s demonstration along with many other businesses. Last week police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters at a huge rally outside the governor’s residence in the island’s capital, San Juan.

But most people on Twitter were so proud to see the people fighting for their future.

Credit: @ananavarro / Twitter

Puerto Ricans from the island to New York, even to Minnesota, were overwhelmed with pride. Many on social media commented that it was amazing to see so many people speaking up for their dignity and their representation. And speaking out against a government that has violated the trust of so many.

Many were commenting that Puerto Rico was showing the rest of the world how to keep on fighting.

Credit: @tomaskenn / Twitter

And there were definitely a few people who were hoping this style of democracy, of massive protests, would make its way to the mainland to fight back against the inhuman policies of President Trump.

The protests are coming after a series of scandals that left Puerto Ricans completely unhappy with their government.

Demonstrations have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of leaked text messages between the governor and 11 members of his inner circle were published on 13 July.

The messages contain homophobic and sexist slurs against political rivals and cultural figures. They also contain a joke about dead bodies during Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

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Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

badbunnypr / marcanthony / Instagram

While it’s been two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the recovery efforts aren’t finishing anytime soon. Many people on the island are still trying to put their lives back together, which includes rebuilding homes, churches, and schools. What many might not know is the recovery efforts have also included revitalizing baseball fields on the island where Puerto Ricans once played. 

Among the destruction that both Hurricanes Irma and Maria left in 2017 is more than 300 small league baseball parks that were found inoperative. As a result, many community ball programs were essentially eliminated and youths on the island were essentially left in the dark without fields to play the sport.

Leading the revitalization efforts are Puerto Rico’s own two native sons: Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. The duo, along with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. community development non-profit, has teamed up for a new program called Play Ball Again. The purpose of the initiative will be to help rebuild some of those damaged baseball fields and facilitate local programming for 17,500 youth. It is expected that in total, about 300 facilities will be impacted by this initiative. 

The duo hopes the contributions play a huge role in bringing not only baseball back to the island but a place where people can escape from their worries. 

Credit: @laguerradelbsn / Twitter

The initiative is special to both of them not only because they’re helping youth but they hoping these recovery efforts go a long way in bringing back a sense of community. Maestro Cares Foundation, which Anthony owns, is putting money towards the program with a goal of restoring “normalcy” in Puerto Rico.

“Sports and recreation activities help restore a sense of normalcy, in the wake of disasters,” Anthony, who is among the program’s earliest supporters, said in a press release.” Baseball isn’t just a game in this context. It helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.”

Maestro Cares, along with the Good Bunny Foundation and UNICEF USA, will all be putting forth $300,000 of what LISC expects to be more than $1.6 million in baseball field renovations. Joining the efforts is Chicago Cubs second baseman Javi Baez with his Cubs Charities, which will donate an additional $100,000 in support. This also includes the Kohler Company, which made a donation to fund bathroom fixtures for onsite facilities.

“Two years after these devastating storms, the need to rebuild the island remains strong,” Báez, whose family is from the Bayamón area, said in a press release. “Cubs Charities understood the need and has stepped up to the plate to help restore baseball fields and give kids throughout Puerto Rico the opportunity to play the game. This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.”

The recovery efforts in Puerto Rico have been long and tiresome but the fuel behind the revitalization has always been the people. 

 Credit: UNICEF / MAESTRO CARES

While time may have passed, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to get back on their feet. For Bad Bunny, he knows firsthand the power that activities like baseball have on youth. Growing up, baseball was part of his life and much of his time was spent at many of the ballparks that were destroyed in 2017. 

“Growing up on the island I spent a lot of time in some of these parks that are now destroyed,” says Bad Bunny, whose Good Bunny Foundation is part of the initiative. “In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.”

The rebirth of Puerto Rico is taking time but in that process, there is a sense that an even stronger community will come out of this disaster. While simple things like baseball may not seem significant, it’s a part of the fabric of Puerto Rico and displays the love that is shared playing on a field. This rebirth has already started as construction on the baseball field is underway and most field renovations are set for completion by the 2020 season.

READ: The Death of Four-Year-Old Noah Cuatro Has Rocked the Los Angeles Community As They Come to Grips With the Failure of Child Protective Services

She Is A Former Undocumented Immigrant And Now She’s Running For Congress As A Republican Who Wants To Build Trump’s Wall

Things That Matter

She Is A Former Undocumented Immigrant And Now She’s Running For Congress As A Republican Who Wants To Build Trump’s Wall

Whittney Williams, a young Taiwanese Republican and formerly undocumented immigrant supports Donald Trump’s immigration policy and is running for Congress in Michigan. Despite living in the United States without her papers for 16 years, she is happy to throw Latinxs under the bus or into alligator-infested moats to score political points with a racist constituency that likely would never vote for an Asian American.

As of 2019, there are only 13 Asian-Americans in Congress and three on the Senate — all of them are Democrats. Asian American representation is sorely lacking in the American political system, but is Williams the person best suited to advocate for their interests? That’s not up for me to decide. However, her stance on immigration ain’t it. 

There are currently 102 women serving in congress out of 435 congresspeople. Guess how many of those women are republicans: 13 out of 102

The Republican Party has been pursuing legislation that many consider racist and sexist. When you align with them as a woman of color they don’t suddenly start to align with your politics, rather they expect you to align with theirs which means possibly supporting racist, sexist, and xenophobic policies.

Williams talks about how difficult it was growing up undocumented but her policy positions will make life for currently undocumented immigrants even more difficult.

“I was brought to America from Taiwan as a 10-year-old girl without knowing a word of English,” Williams says in a campaign ad. “My family overstayed their visas, and as a result, I spent the next 16 years living in the shadows as an illegal immigrant.” 

Williams was undocumented against her will like many children are. Her parents entered the United States using tourist visas in 1992, but stayed long after the visas expired. Williams did not acquire U.S. citizenship until 2013 after getting married. 

“If someone knew (about your immigration status), if you told somebody, they could take advantage of you. It’s a constant fear. And you’re constantly told, ‘Oh, you’re an illegal immigrant,’ not, you know, human. That takes a toll on you as you hear that constantly,” she said on MLive. 

Wow, sounds terrible I guess we should punish everyone in similar situations because reasons… 

Williams wants to “stop the flow” of immigrants. 

Williams wants to curtail immigration in the U.S. and believes building a wall on the southern border would “stop the flow” of migrants. 

“When you look at a problem, of course, you want to stop it first, so you can resolve what’s in here, because if you keep having this flow … this number here is just going to get bigger and bigger,” she told MLive.

The United States is not so densely populated that it can’t afford more immigrants. In fact, immigrants are necessary for our labor force due to low birth rates. So far, Trump’s wall has cost taxpayers $6.2 billion and only 60 miles, of the 2000-mile border, have had their pre-existing fences built. That money can’t go to immigrants? Trump’s trip to play golf have cost taxpayers $340 million. That money can’t go to immigrants? Immigrants are not a burden on our society and these GOP morons need to stop touting this inaccurate talking point. 

You want to stop immigration, then the U.S. needs to support folks in other countries so they don’t have to flee. Few politicians so much as mention this besides Julian Castro who proposed a Marshall Plan in Central America — oh, and he’s a Democrat by the way. 

A broken clock is right twice a day. Williams says Democrats don’t do enough for immigrants. 

Williams says Democrats don’t go far enough on immigration — and I agree. The Obama administration deported more immigrants than any other administration. That will always be a blemish on his and the Democrat’s legacy. 

 “Politicians knew of us: They called us ‘Dreamers,’ and quite frankly, used us as political props for their own personal gain,” she said. 

Yes, the Democratic party likes to trot out immigrants and other marginalized people for political clout but rarely listens to us — but that is not the point. While the Democratic party is imperfect, it is a false equivalency to suggest they are pursuing policies that throw children in cages and would suggest shooting migrants in the legs.

The Democratic party is changing, it has hope to be reformed. We have A.O.C., Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland, and an ever-evolving coalition of people of color and immigrants, indigenous folk, and women who are fighting institutionalists with us and for us right now.

Meanwhile, the Republican party just announced it would be stealing DNA from detained immigrants and entering it into a criminal database. Williams, whose side are you really on?