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Campaign Updates

Hurricane Maria Solidarity Fund Launched to Support Puerto Rico

Low-income communities of color, still struggling from Irma, face brunt of storm


SAN JUAN/NEW YORK – In preparation for the damage expected from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling from Hurricane Irma earlier this month, a solidarity relief fund has been established to meet the needs of Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable communities.

Even as Puerto Rico struggles to rebuild and return to normal after Hurricane Irma pummeled the island earlier this month, residents are hunkered down for Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on Wednesday morning as a Category 4 hurricane.

The Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund will be housed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and funds will be used to support immediate relief, recovery and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for low-income communities of color hit hardest by the storm. The fund will support organizations working on the frontlines with these communities.

Low-income communities of color often face the worst destruction and slowest recovery and have fewer resources to evacuate and safeguard homes, vehicles, and other property.  When the winds die down and the floods recede, these communities are often forgotten by reconstruction efforts, and underserved by insurance companies.

After Irma, for example, many families in Puerto Rico’s poor, predominantly Black community of Loíza were left without homes and without power. Structural racial inequities have kept these communities impoverished for years and left them unable to recover fully from past storms like Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Georges in 1998, both category 3. Maria is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since a 1928 Category 5 storm.

Tania Rosario-Méndez, Executive Director at Puerto Rico-based CPD affiliate Taller Salud, said, “These disasters hit low-income communities of color the worst and we’ve already seen this in the last month with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By launching this fund, we want to ensure that the recovery doesn’t leave the most vulnerable populations behind. Many of these families have faced the brunt of these storms, losing homes and their belongings, but we hope this fund will help them rebuild their lives in this difficult time. We have not forgotten them.”



The Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda.


Contact: Anita Jain, ajain@populardemocracy.org, 347-636-9761