To the Editor:
When Houston was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, Tennessee stepped up in a big way.
Here in Williamson County officials organized a school supplies drive for the storm’s victims at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo, and similar efforts took place all throughout the district.
Our family gave, and many others did also. America is at its Stars & Stripes best when we’re taking care of one another.
Today we’re faced with an opportunity to do the same thing for a part of the United States even more ravaged by a storm and in need – I’m speaking of Puerto Rico, and the fate it suffered at the hands of Hurricane Maria this past week.
Much of the island is without power and will be for months. People are still being rescued. It’s quite literally a state of emergency down there.
I know Houston is closer in proximity to us here in Tennessee, and we don’t have Maria refugees staying in homes here the way we did with Harvey (our family took in 7), but Puerto Rico is still very much a part of the United States, and they truly need our help.
I’ve spent a good amount of time in Puerto Rico, having run a business there a few years ago. The people are warm and generous and as patriotic as they are anywhere here on the mainland- you’d be surprised how in tune they are with our politics for a “state” whose vote doesn’t even count.
Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917. A Puerto Rican fired the first shot in defense of the US in WWI. Roberto Clemente… Lin-Manuel Miranda who gave us ‘Hamilton’… Jennifer Lopez… All great Americans, all with Puerto Rico in their blood. When you go to Puerto Rico you don’t even get charged roaming charges – that’s how American Puerto Rico is.
So what I’m asking is that we take Puerto Rico’s suffering to heart just as we did Houston’s, and mobilize. Rally the giving spirit. Send canned goods, and water, and donations down to our countrymen in Puerto Rico just as we would if they were our next door neighbors. Because those are Americans in need, and I can assure you from what I’ve seen down there they would do the same for us.
It’s not too late. They’ll be in need for many months to come.
College Grove 37046
Justin Kanew is Challenging Marsha Blackburn for TN7’s seat in U.S. Congress in 2018.