Jessica Marie Johnson writes:
I am helping to host an online fundraiser via YouCaring for Festival de la Palabra, located in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Please help us reach our $5,000 goal: http://youcaring.com/PalabrasPR
The mission of Festival de la Palabra is to internationalize Puerto Rican literature through the promotion of reading and creative writing in Puerto Rico and the creation of meeting spaces between writers and readers at school, national and international levels. Since Hurricane Maria, organizers and volunteers from Festival de la Palabra (FDLP) have been engaged in relief activities supporting some of the most isolated communities and youth through the arts. FDLP’s projects are based in Loíza, Puerto Rico, a historically Afrxdescendiente area of the island.
In case you missed that part — These funds are going to support Black Diasporic Puerto Ricans. Yes, of course, this is the part of the island that is receiving the least amount of attention, the least amount of aid, and has the greatest need.
The impact of the hurricane on people of African descent on the island has been especially devastating. Palabras for Puerto Rico Lansing- organized by DiaspoRican scholar/organizers and community members in Michigan and Maryland – is focused on fundraising for their current and on-going relief and reconstruction efforts.
These are the projects we are supporting through the Open Mic and Online Fundraiser:
1. “No Estas Solo:” One of the most pressing issues that the FDLP volunteers are addressing is preventing the daily suicides and suicide attempts. Under the name “No Estas Solo” the folks associated with FDLP have been going to high risk places to bring, art, books, theater, and writing workshops (talleres) in order work with those suffering from depression and PTSD.
2. “Recuperación Escolar“: Another issue is school recuperation, supplies for students, and support for teachers. Many schools are not going to re-open and other schools have suffered devastation “hasta las nubes” (to the clouds). Thus, we will be also be collecting school supplies notebooks, pencils, book-bags, etc. to support students’ return to school. These will be hand-delivered to Escuela Superior Vocacional de Loíza and other schools in PR by the volunteers/organizers from the Lansing-area.
In addition to this, the organizers of this fundraiser and a contingent of volunteers based in Michigan, Maryland, and New York will be traveling to Puerto Rico to support FDLP’s projects on the ground.
100% of the funds raised on YouCaring will go directly to FDLP to help with radical literacy projects and support long-standing volunteers and their families on the island. Salon Literario/Festival de la Palabra is a 501c3 tax exempt organization with an impeccable track of transparency and commitment to education, literacy, communities. Your donation IS tax deductible.
Anything you can donate will go a long way—please support if you can!
As disclosure, I am one of the managers of the YouCaring site alongside Yomaira C. Figueroa, Delia Fernandez, Xhercis Mendez, and Angélica De Jesus. And I am happy to answer any questions about Festival de la Palabra or current relief efforts.
For more on Festival de la Palabra, check out the video below.
And for whatever you can offer — THANK YOU!
Next steps–for those in Michigan this weekend.
The next action for Festival de la Palabara will be on December 2nd. Please join us from 7-9pm for an open mic night to benefit Festival de la Palabra’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico at the Michigan Museum.
Suggested Donation is $10. Local poets, singers, and artists welcome!
Please fill out this google form if you would like to participate:bit.ly/poetsprlansing