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Puerto Rico: The Effect of Neglect

Mountain Top Mayday“What we are going to see is something close to a genocide. We are dying here. I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles. So, mayday we are in trouble.” (San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz-Sep. 29th, 2017)


It has been almost two months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and left the island in shambles. There has been a mass outpouring of support from across the country. One notable example is the release of Lin Manuel Miranda’s newest song “Almost Like Praying” to raise money for the relief. Miranda, who became a household name after his hit musical Hamilton swept the nation by storm, is no stranger to writing benefit songs, having previously collaborated with Jennifer Lopez to write “Loves Makes the World Go Round” in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting last summer. “Almost Like Praying,” with its star-studded cast of Latin American artists, offers a roll call of all 78 of Puerto Rico’s towns. This effectively symbolizing Puerto Rican unity in a time of great devastation, and the reassurance no one is being forgotten in a time when it is difficult to feel otherwise. According to a study conducted by the Quinnipiac University, 52% of Americans feel that President Trump doesn’t care about the situation in Puerto Rico. These feelings are once again reflected by the 55% of Americans who believe the Trump administration has not done enough for the Hispanic majority area (“University”). This stands in sharp contrast with the favorable opinion regarding the administration’s handling of Harvey and Irma.

This impression seems fairly justified considering the flippant comments that the President has made regarding the island. He even alluded to removing federal support from the area only a month after the disaster: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” (Trump) This comment was hastily retracted after receiving harsh backlash. As it stands, the current support afforded by the federal personnel on the island seems to be fairly lacking. National Nurses United reported that RNRN/NNU nurses deployed to the island were shocked to find people who have not yet received food, water and other supplies from FEMA. Moreover, many across the island have seen no sign of FEMA or any other federal relief officials at all (“Nurses”). This disparity in care has caused citizens to take matters into their own hands. More than a month after the hurricane hit on Oct. 26th, a group of civilians delivered a generator to a elder-care facility in Isabela, Puerto Rico. The facility has been almost perpetually without electricity and often water since Hurricane Maria. One of the citizens who delivered the generator asserted, “All we have is us, there is no FEMA here” to explain their involvement in the affair (Cunningham). The power situation in Puerto Rico still remains in dire straits, the Washington Examiner reports, “…66 percent of the island’s estimated 3.4 million residents have electricity, according to a government-run website detailing utility coverage.” Considering the progress made thus far the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, estimates that full power will not return to the island until February (Giaritelli).

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The Symphony of the Forest

A symphony of calls high above

Voices without a form

No body, just sound,

as if it’s the trees themselves.


There is no recitative

There is no intermission

This music has no beginning, no end.

It’s the music of the forest


It started with the first sprout

It will until the fall of the final stoic pillar

Once all the musician have left

And have found a new concert hall

Greg Silverstein

The Child and The Chipmunk

The scream of a child

The screech of chipmunk


One playing

One surviving


The chipmunk does not know of play

The child knows naught of survival


Hundreds of yards and millions of years separation

Yet originating from the same


Is the child blessed or cursed

Is the chipmunk blessed or cursed


One free in the forest

One confined to a schoolyard

Greg Silverstein

Crispy Business

Sun beating down,
Water all around.

A quaint breeze,
Flows throughout the trees.

Studying is in the back of the mind,
Leaving all thoughts behind.

Relaxing in the pool,
Not thinking of school.

Starting to get crispy,
I was feeling risky.

A nice day and yummy food,
Puts Lexi in a good mood.

The day is done,
Feeling beat from the sun.

Lexi Welch

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