Puerto Rico has recently been through a fair share of trauma. After Hurricane Maria swept through, 3.4 million residents were left without food, water, shelter, or cell service. It is estimated that recovery from Maria will take up to $80 billion (notwithstanding the financial toll already taken on the island from Hurricane Irma), a sum that will most likely cripple the country economically for years to come.
So far, the US government has waived the Jones Act for 10 days, declared the island a disaster area, and proposed the idea of a hurricane relief package, such as that given to Texas following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosello has also asked the Treasury Department for loans to help rebuild and refinance. But for an entire territory that has been devastated by a Category 4 hurricane, the amount of help being given is paltry, leaving citizens to take matters into their own hands.
Several celebrities and charities have planned to donate to relief efforts with their time and patronage. Jennifer Lopez was one of them, announcing recently that she, alongside her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, would donate the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to charities and other nonprofit organizations aiding in relief efforts.
She has said that she and Rodriguez are “utilizing all of our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” and are working with both the New York Yankees and the Dallas Mavericks to make sure that the people of Puerto Rico receive aid as quickly as possible.
Other celebrity efforts include that from Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has family members residing in Puerto Rico. “Puerto Ricans need supplies and resources just as badly as their fellow Americans in Texas and Florida, and this need is magnified by their geographic isolation from the mainland,” he wrote in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter.
Miranda describes the impact Hurricane Maria had on his family, how his grandfather’s dream home was destroyed and his cousin’s dreams to become a veterinarian were indefinitely postponed. “With so much to be done and such great urgency before us, let’s use our own winds of change to help Puerto Rico dig out and rise up.” Miranda has also been touting different relief charities on his Twitter, including the Puerto Rican Family Institute and the Hispanic Federation.
Even recently-gone-solo artist Camila Cabello has added her voice to the relief efforts. After the release of her single “Havana” she was contacted by Miranda and asked to lend her voice to a charity compilation song. It’s not yet said when it will be released, but the proceeds are planned to go to hurricane relief.
Celebrities’ actions aren’t always motivated by the inevitable media coverage to follow. Sometimes, they just want to change the world – and change it they certainly are.
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