A land abandoned is one in which no one has come to respond. That’s not the case in Puerto Rico.
Thousands of FEMA/military/FBI/police and others have flooded the island and where, at first, we imagined an occupation, this does not qualify as such. An existing occupation would be a visible occupation. But the optics are lacking. No, Puerto Rico is flush with ‘responders.’ But the people have been left to fend for themselves in streets with defunct street lights, creating perilous conditions at large and busy intersections. Debris stretches across roads; collapsed walls, snapped light poles, chunks of cement, hundreds of downed power lines and what doesn’t block the roads hangs precariously over them, teetering over cars and pedestrians.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is on the ground, based at a church in Guaynabo and circulating literal tons of procured food/water/hygiene and baby supplies to areas that have been cut off from aid. Going directly to people’s homes with local residents in our vehicles, being welcomed into homes, listening to stories, responding to requests; that is mutual aid. That is solidarity.
A better world imagined is a better world manifested is a better world strengthened. So when words like ‘response,’ ‘action’ and ‘relief’ are used so carelessly and with such brevity as by a mass federal and military body resting in luxury hotels with power, clean water, dedicated catered buffets, air conditioning and internet service while elderly residents with cardiac conditions lie sweltering in structurally damaged homes without access to any of the above, we can destroy those misgnomers with actions rooted in community guided by principles of solidarity.
Building power from the streets.
Building power while the lights are out.
All power to the people.
All power to the imagination.
All power to the revolution of everyday life.
Guaynabo, PR crew