Update, October 28, 2022: Our awesome Book Riot readers have stepped up to donate just over $1,250 to Taller Salud. We made our maximum matching donation of US$2,500 for a total of $3,750 raised for this wonderful cause! Here’s the receipt, and thank you for donating and spreading the word!
From Wednesday, October 12 through Tuesday, October 18, Book Riot will be matching donations to Taller Sallud for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, up to $2,500 USD. Read on to find out why we chose to support this organization and to find out how to donate.
On September 18, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 1 storm brought record rainfall, flash flooding, landslides and sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, ripping roofs off, collapsing bridges and tearing up sidewalks before a power outage at the Island scale leaves Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people in the dark. While power has been restored for some, up to 100,000 residents are still without power more than two weeks later. According to the island’s health department, as many as 25 deaths have been linked to the storm.
Sadly, Puerto Rico is still recovering from the last time a hurricane devastated the island. Fiona comes almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria left 3,000 Puerto Ricans dead and PR’s electrical system in shambles (a system that had been strained since before either storm hit) . Read that again: 3,000 dead, the power of an entire island wiped out. Maria was one of the most devastating natural disasters in 100 years, but the Trump administration’s response to the event was to withhold $20 billion in hurricane relief. Despite this drastic abandonment by American citizens in the wake of such a profound tragedy, FEMA officials insist they have learned a lot from Maria and are in a much better position to respond to Fiona. Others insist there is still a long way to go in both post-hurricane preparedness and response.
Progress or not, thousands of Puerto Ricans remain displaced and need immediate assistance. That’s why, at Book Riot, we chose to support Taller Salud, a grassroots feminist organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, reducing violence in the community, and economic growth through education and activism in Puerto Rico.
Here’s a bit about their recent efforts:
- In 2017, Taller Salud was preparing to distribute food and supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma when news emerged that Maria had intensified into a Category 4 hurricane. The organization stepped up its response and organized community efforts and mutual aid initiatives, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the development of a community guide for emergency preparedness.
- Immediately after Irma and Maria, Taller Salud conducted a housing study in Loíza, a city on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico particularly affected by storms. When the hurricane season started in 2022, they published the results of the study showing that “100% of the houses of the 7 communities surveyed were in conditions of vulnerability to a natural phenomenon and 30.6% were still covered with tarps. blue”.
- Taller Salud has publicly denounced the lack of support from the Ministry of Housing and the government as a whole to guarantee Puerto Ricans’ right to decent housing, demanding “immediate cancellation of the abusive LUMA Energy contract, immediate adjustment of the utility bill, electricity for consumers, a governance model that maintains electricity service as a public good, and an urgent focus on restructuring current power generation toward renewables.
- Today, in Fiona’s wake, Taller Salud has once again spearheaded a disaster response. They’ve opened two community kitchens to serve 500 meals a day, assessed critical needs through a community census tool, and advocated for the inclusion of all municipalities (read: not just tourist-rich areas) in the designation area for disasters. They also launched a hurricane relief fund to provide essential goods and clean water to thousands of families. More on this answer in the video below.
The reach and mission of Taller’s Salud goes far beyond hurricane relief. They also run programs focused on reproductive justice; political education and advocacy; safe recovery and housing campaigns; and juvenile justice. They work to reduce gender-based violence affecting people of African descent and dismantle toxic masculinity. They are a pillar of their community working daily to address the inequalities faced by the citizens of Puerto Rico, today and beyond the aftermath of the hurricane.
Now through Tuesday, October 18, Book Riot will be matching donations to Taller Sallud for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, up to a maximum donation of $2,500. To enter, upload a photo of your receipt for your donation in the form below (you can redact personal information). Check back next week and we’ll upload our receipt to show how much we raised together! Thank you for joining us in this cause, and click here to complete your donation.
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