Moises Rodriguez left us this comment:
“We the people in Puerto Rico simply need to live with self respect and dignity. The unequal rights of the people in the island is not acceptable. We need representation in Congress and to be able to vote for the presidency. We need to lobby key states for support. Puerto Ricans in the mainland need to write to their representatives and demand their support. We need as John Lewis would say, ‘Good trouble ‘. Without it nothing will happen.”
We agree. Equal rights is all we’re asking, and it is clear that we cannot get equal rights except through statehood.
If you live in a state, write to your representatives and demand their support for statehood.
Congress must admit Puerto Rico. This is done the same way any law is made. With a clear vote for statehood, Congress will have no excuse for ignoring Puerto Rico’s demand for statehood. But Congress must see Puerto Rico statehood as a high priority. There are plenty of issues fighting for attention, and Puerto Rico may have to fight hard to get that attention.
Col. Luis Berrios-Amadeo of the Equality Commission wrote in a piece for the Orlando Sentinel, “What would have happened to the civil rights movement for equality promoted by John Lewis if, on March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, he had asked permission to march and cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the government had refused and consequently complied with that decision and not attempted to cross it.”
Berrios-Amadeo was referring to the fact that the Department of Justice withheld approval for the November plebiscite. Some Puerto Rico leaders responded by calling for the vote to be cancelled. Berrios-Amadeo disagreed.
“Let us follow the examples and lessons of this giant of human rights and equality and without asking anyone’s permission and with the certainty that we are on the right side of history let us go out and vote massively for the ‘yes’ alternative in the plebiscite of 3 November 2020.”
He was speaking of Congressman John Lewis, a fervent fighter for human rights. Barack Obama spoke about civil rights for Puerto Rico in his eulogy for Rep. Lewis. Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon reminded Congress that Lewis co-sponsored statehood bills for Puerto Rico.
Lewis tweeted encouragement to those fighting for equality shortly before his death. “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime,” he wrote. “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Demand that Congress take the appropriate action. This is a simple step, but it supports the simplest solution to the problems in Puerto Rico: statehood.