In April of last year, the House Committee on Natural Resources submitted its bill to address Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring. Days later, with tensions running high over the first draft of what would become known as the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act; or PROMESA; Centro hosted the first in a series of conferences known as Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans. The inaugural Diaspora Summit took place in New York City and provided an immediate forum to discuss the legislation, the economic, fiscal and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the impact of the crisis on stateside Puerto Rican communities. Overall, the conference sought to address the wide range of issues stemming from the economic crisis and brought together elected officials, activists, academics, community leaders, and more.
As it turns out, the response from the diaspora has been an unprecedented solidarity movement. From mobilization to Washington D.C, to the various campaigns to bring awareness to what is happening in Puerto Rico, there have been numerous initiatives taking place in the past year. Centro has also played its part by convening, informing, and documenting this movement.
After the success of the Diaspora Summit, Centro held three additional conferences under the Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans banner, including: LGBT Ricans: El Encuentro, Parades and Festivals, and a regional summit in New England. And just last week, Puerto Rico News, an online resource to keep the stateside community informed of what is happening on the island, was launched as part of the Centro website.
Which brings us to the present. One year later, Centro is preparing to host its second Diaspora Summit, and again, the timing is critical for several reasons. For example, May 1st is the deadline for the ending of the stay on the debt enacted as part of PROMESA. One of our objectives at the summit is to take stock of where we are after this key deadline, to make a difference in our community’s understanding of the situation, and to shape strategies in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico.
The impact on stateside communities, however, is two-fold. In addition to the crisis, there are specific issues to be addressed such as the recent vandalism of a Puerto Rican mural in New Jersey, proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and many others—all of which can and should be included within a National Network that provides the diaspora with a strong and unified voice.
The second Diaspora Summit will take place over the course of two days, May 12th and 13th, in New York City. The first day of the program will focus on understanding, i.e What Do We Know? What Are Key Policies? What Can Community Strategies Do? While the second day will address the topic of engagement, i.e. How Community Institutions Are Responding to the Challenge? What Do Strategies Support? Where Do We Go from Here? To see the program for this year conference, click here.
Throughout each day of the conference, there will be panels addressing a variety of issues and opportunities to network with similarly minded individuals and organizations. Please join us for this critically important opportunity to unite as a people. More information is available on the Centro Nation Builder website, including RSVP and accommodations. To register, click here.
To read a summary of the last year’s Diaspora Summit, click here. See below for a video of the conference. Pa’lante.