Across New York State, at cities including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Ithaca and New York, thousands of people showed solidarity with their fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Now, they are calling on the Federal Government to do more to support the hurricane stricken island.
"The island is still in crisis,” said Hilda Rosario Escher from the Ibero-American Action League in Rochester. “There are a lot of people out there who don't have electricity, they don't have drinkable water. Those are basic needs. We don't want people to forget that they are still without the basic necessities."
The island of Puerto Rico was devastated by multiple hurricanes, the most recent of which was Maria, which barreled through the Island in September of 2017. Months later, many on the island are still struggling to regain power and clean water. On Saturday, Governor Cuomo called on New York State to do more, by speaking at a rally in the Bronx. Other rallies elsewhere in the state, including Rochester, echoed his sentiment. Rochester boasts roughly 60,000 people of Puerto Rican Heritage, some who were welcomed to the area in the past few months alone.
"We wanted to come up here to say thank you,” said Rossana Rosado, the New York Secretary of State, who joined the Rochester rally on Saturday. “But to also join the Governor in his outrage at the way in which Puerto Ricans on the island have been treated by the Federal Government. We want to demand more services, from the Federal Government. Some Puerto Ricans are just getting light back now. They lost it back in September. You know we are the most resilient people, but it is hard for many families and for many of the folks still there."
That's why Governor Cuomo called on Congress to fund the $94.4 billion "Build Back Better" Plan, sponsored by the New York Congressional Delegation.
"They have a great plan to rebuilt Puerto Rico not to what it was,” said Cuomo. “But build a Puerto Rico better than ever before. But we need funding from Congress. And we need a better response from the Federal Government than we have been getting."
Since September, Cuomo said New York State has deployed more than 1,000 personnel and distributed 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from across the state. Now they are calling on the rest of the country to do their part.