Over two months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, thousands of citizens remain without a reliable source of electricity or access to clean water, and hundreds are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland each day. For many Puerto Ricans, the Trump administration has done little to improve living conditions for the citizens who have remained on the island, and that's why hundreds gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the Unity March for Puerto Rico to raise awareness about the current state of the island.
The rally, which was attended by Puerto Rican playwright and activist Lin-Manuel Miranda, listed a number of pleas on the Hispanic Federation website. Those pleas, which were directed at the federal government, include giving the same amount of aid to Puerto Rico as the government typically gives to states in the U.S. mainland, rebuilding Puerto Rico's infrastructure, ensuring that resources are delivered "where they're needed most," and forgiving Puerto Rico's debt.
President Trump has been criticized for what many deem to be an inappropriate, insufficient, and, according to some, racist response to the disaster in Puerto Rico. In the past few weeks, as the island struggles to rebuild, Trump has criticized the island's leadership, thrown paper towel rolls at residents in an aid distribution center, and even blamed Puerto Ricans themselves for the destruction on the island.
While it's easy to be outraged, it can sometimes be hard to remember that beneath the offensive statements and poor policy proposals are real people who have lost nearly everything and need government help to get back on their feet. Photos of the Puerto Rico Unity March are a powerful reminder of the thousands of people who are making sure their voices are heard so they are not forgotten and their rights are respected.