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5 Reasons To Attend NYC Diaspora Summit III: Rebuild Puerto Rico

by Centro Staff


The 3rd Diaspora Summit is set to take place over the weekend, Friday, May 11 to Saturday, May 12. In response to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria, the theme this year is Rebuild Puerto Rico, which is also the name of a resource repository created by Centro in the days after the storm to assist the Puerto Rican community with everything from applying for disaster assistance to finding charitable organizations accepting donations.

Diaspora Summit III also marks the ninth event of the Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans series (to read a recap of the entire series, click here). And for the uninitiated, it is an opportunity for the Puerto Rican diaspora to come together and discuss the challenges faced by stateside Puerto Ricans and island residents alike, i.e. the almost 9 million Puerto Ricans aquí y allá.

With that being said, here are five reasons to join us at the upcoming Diaspora Summit, which takes place at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem:

1. You never know who you will meet.

That’s not entirely true. There are over 100 confirmed panelists scheduled to attend, which can be found in the conference schedule. They include scholars, elected officials, community leaders, artists, and more, across a wide spectrum of the public and private sectors. 25 of the invited panelists will also be traveling from Puerto Rico to participate in the conference.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet other like-minded folks dedicated to the diaspora solidarity movement. As a result, we encourage you to network and connect with their fellow Boricuas.

2. Have a particular interest? There’s a panel for that.

Seriously. There are over 25 panels to choose from over the course of two days. Are you concerned about the mental health impact of Hurricane Maria? Go to the panel on Saturday at 2:15pm in Room 330. Do you want to hear from elected officials on their role in the recovery effort? Go to the panel on Friday, 1:30pm in room 217. The list goes on and on. See for yourself by checking out the full conference schedule here.

3. It’s a timely event.

With an economic recession and now, Hurricane Maria’s aftermath, when is it not an appropriate time to meet and discuss the issues facing Puerto Rico? FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program, for example, expires next month, on June 30. Hurricane season is approaching (June 1st). And as you may already know, things can take a turn pretty much any day of the week. Staying informed is almost a 24/7 kind of job, but the Diaspora Summit is certainly a way of catching up, if not sharpening/sharing your knowledge on the current situation in Puerto Rico.

4. There’s a lot more going on than just panels.

Not talking about the food per se. An action fair will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 10am to 12pm. The fair is a networking and community-building event where you can meet and greet community leaders from around the country and exchange ideas for affecting social change. On the same day, beginning at 9am, there will also be a series of Rebuild Puerto Rico Action trainings, which will include the following:

5. The diaspora solidarity movement is evolving.

It’s been a couple of years since the inaugural diaspora summit. A lot has changed, some things have not. However, the need for the diaspora to unite remains an important goal, especially as the stakes have been raised in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. So join us on Friday and Saturday and learn about the next phase of the diaspora solidarity movement, including an important announcement with respect to the Rebuild Puerto Rico initiative.

Bonus: Because 9 million Boricuas won’t fit into an auditorium in East Harlem, we’re hoping to accommodate those who cannot be with us in person. ZOOM video conferences will be available for every panel, as well as a live stream for the plenaries. You can access the link to each ZOOM meeting by visiting the conference schedule on Centro’s Nationbuilder page.

To RSVP for Diaspora Summit III, click here. (You can also register in the morning each day of the conference)

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices 10 May 2018.