In a conversation with Bianca Carona and Ricardo Marrero Passapera, George Laws Garcia, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council, asked what these students wanted to see in the next stage of their lives.
One of their answers, as young professionals and students living in a state, was that statehooders in the states are very important. Bianca said that the statehood advocates in Puerto Rico are most visible, but that statehood advocates in the states have the advantage of having representatives in Congress that they can contact.
Bianca is an attorney finishing her training in Washington, D.C. “It’s all about networking,” she said. She began reaching out to fellow statehooders with her social media and was surprised by how many responses she received.
Ricardo developed the group Puerto Rico Ahora Si, a statehood advocacy group. The organization began with the goal of encouraging voters in the 2020 plebiscite and continues to advocate for statehood following the majority “Yes” vote.
Both Bianca and Ricardo make connections with other statehood advocates through the Puerto Rico Statehood Action Network. The network supports organizations and individuals working toward justice and equality for Puerto Rico.
Until we have full equality…
Bianca expressed concern about her parents. “They say they will have to retire in the states,” she said, because they will not have the same benefits if they stay on the Island.
George responded that “We’re focused on the facts and information, but so much of this is about the personal situation. You having to leave Puerto Rico to get the best education possible, having to be separated from your parents to develop to the fullest of your potential — and the possibility that they, having lived their whole lives in Puerto Rico, have to consider the very painful reality that they may have to leave the Island in order to retire with their full rights and benefits as U.S. citizens.”
“The current territory literally tears our families and our communities apart,” he continued. “That injustice needs to come to an end.”
Educating friends and family
Bianca encouraged those who want to advocate for statehood to educate their friends and family.
One way to start is to share some simple articles:
As a state, Puerto Rico will have two senators and four Members of Congress in Washington to stand up for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico voters will be able to vote for their president. Puerto Rico will be on an equal footing with the current 50 states.
It’s a question of justice, or civil rights, and of equality.