Building solidarity through mutual aid since 2017.
Who are we?
Hurricane María changed the lives of every Puerto Rican.
In September 2017, a group of passionate people from the West and the diaspora mobilized themselves to create a brigade that would meet the immediate needs of communities after María. As part of these efforts, debris was collected, roadways were cleared, and thousands of groceries, water filters, tarps, and other essential goods were distributed to aid the recovery process after the emergency. Thanks to the support of hundreds of people and organizations, we were able to rebuild 14 dwellings impacted by hurricane María.
Five years since, we have responded with coordinated support to the earthquakes in the South and West, and we continue to work toward developing our communities through mutual aid, art, music, and activism.
"La solidaridad es la ternura de los pueblos"- Gioconda Belli
We decided not to stay put while we waited for the government and FEMA to help, since we knew this wouldn't happen for a long time and they wouldn't tend to the real and urgent needs of the southern and western communities in those times of crisis.
Through self-organization and mutual aid, we managed to unite dozens of people throughout Puerto Rico and the diaspora in an effort for just recovery.
"Si lxs de abajo se mueven , lxs de arriba se caen"
The summer of 2019 saw the emergence of a popular movement that demanded governor Ricardo Roselló's immediate resignation. In the West, as in many other regions, popular assemblies were carried out to establish common demands and organize protests in support of the country's overarching claim: the removal of Ricky Roselló from office, which was achieved on July 24th 2019.
The brigade supported these assemblies through logistics and resources while also participating in them, in accordance with our commitment to social justice.
"Solo el pueblo salva al pueblo"
Since the start of 2020, the south and west of Puerto Rico have not stopped shaking. After the devastating earthquake on January 7, we mobilized ourselves to the Guánica-Yauco area to provide support and resources to the self-organized camps that had been established in different communities within these municipalities. There, we focused first on learning the needs of the different camps—medicine, portable bathrooms, cots, tents, creating or supplying mess halls for some camps, and creating an art zone so that the youth could have a space in which to heal through art.
In response to the pandemic, we have sought responsible ways to continue our solidary work. We supported communities in Mayagüez that were hit by floods caused by tropical storm Isaías. Currently, we are working in Guánica, where we are helping to meet the housing necessities of people who were affected by the earthquakes but have not received any help from FEMA, culminating in the construction of a housing module for an elderly couple in the Fuig community.
On September 18, in the context of the privatization of Puerto Rico's power grid, our archipelago was struck again by a hurricane. Even though it was not as powerful as María, Fiona brought historic amounts of rain, and its more direct passage through a southwest made vulnerable by the colonial crisis caused comparable and sometimes even worse damages than María in our region.
As an immediate response, the brigade mobilized itself to get supplies to those who were affected by the storm and clear the debris left by the flooding.
Seeing the dire need for food security that the hurricane unveiled, we launched the Fondita Solidaria from our space in San Germán, which operated for ten weeks thanks to the solidarity of farmers, fisherpeople and local companies, as well as the diaspora. We supported the community with hot meals five days a week, besides continuing to distribute groceries and basic supplies. On weekends, we offered art workshops sponsored by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo; community health clinics with the solidarity of doctors from the area; and we facilitated psychosocial support sessions.
Currently, we are working on just reconstruction and special quality of life support for extremely vulnerable populations.
Five years since María
To Puerto Rico~
A letter of Love and Solidarity
We've got each other.
In an embrace, we share your pain.
Five years since Hurricane María, we assert:
*ALL the money from ALL the empires in the world will not bring back our 4,645 dead.
*"Funds", "aid" and "relief" return to their pockets like boomerangs... we will not be bought.
*What we lost was not due to a natural phenomenon but due to the evil, apathy and greed of BOTH governments.
*In the west, 16 days went by without hearing from a single state government official. Yet thanks to their silence, WE FOUND EACH OTHER. We supported ourselves. We made ourselves grow. We united. We failed. We learned. We are still failing and learning...
Strengthening ourselves through SOLIDARITY. We are not the same people we were five years ago. But amid EVERYTHING we lost, we also lost the fear of dreaming about and building the Country we deserve.
We've got each other.
P.O Box 1073 Boquerón, P.R. 00622