Ithacans Collecting Supplies, Advocating for Puerto Rico Relief

Categories Ithaca, Politics

Words & Photos by Josh Brokaw

Ithacans were collecting supplies for Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria this weekend, and asking downtown festival goers to make calls to government officials to expedite disaster relief.

No More Tears/No Mas Lagrismas was collecting donations of money and supplies on Saturday and Sunday at DeWitt Park. No More Tears director Ana Ortiz said she will be taking supplies to a collection point in Utica early this week, and will continue to collect supplies in coming weeks. If you can donate batteries, flash lights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, and hygiene products for women and men, email Ortiz at or call or text her at (607) 793-0240.

Sign at DeWitt Park, Oct. 1, 2017. Photo: Josh Brokaw/TruthSayers

Mary Anne Grady Flores posted up with comrades on Sunday at the corner of Cayuga and Buffalo streets during the First Peoples’ Festival. Grady Flores and her compatriots asked people to share a photograph of a sign that asks people to call Representative Tom Reed’s office and ask the congress-person five things:

  1. Pass a $20 billion relief fund act.
  2. Send Relief by More Helicopters.
  3. Cancel the Jones Act.
  4. Cancel Puerto Rico’s $70 billion in debt.
  5. Support solar & green development.
Studying demands for Rep. Tom Reed. Oct. 1, 2017. Photo: Josh Brokaw/TruthSayers

Grady Flores was explaining to passersby all afternoon that the Jones Act prevents shipments of material aid from going directly to Puerto Rico. Instead, ships from other countries, like the Dominican Republic, 78 miles away from Puerto Rico, have to go to Florida and then have their supplies offloaded onto a ship flying the American flag. Then, the materials can be sent back to Puerto Rico.

In an email sent around Ithaca’s many listservs, Grady Flores explained the talking points in a bit more detail:

  1. Cancel the Jones Act permanently-not for just 10 days,to allow foreign relief vessels from close neighboring countries like the Dominican Republic (78 miles) into Puerto Rico instead of ships having to go 1,000 miles to Florida, unload, reload under a US flagship, then go 1,000 miles back to PR! Speed up the process!
  2. Send immediate and massive aid beginning with helicopters to rescue people in areas that are cut off, rebuild cell towers to aid in communications for residents & relief workers

Pass bankruptcy legislation. Pass a $20 Billion public relief bill immediately!

  1. Pass a major reconstruction bill that prioritizes solar energy & other sustainable technology that will save millions and the environment in the long run. Unless massive emergency relief arrives soon, cholera will spread, and the very young, the elderly, & the infirm will fall ill & the death toll will climb. Please call now. Thank you!

If you or your organization are taking local action to help our neighbors across the globe, tell your story on TruthSayers. Email with notices of events and direct actions.

Featured photograph of Teresa Grady, left, and Mary Anne Grady Flores. By Josh Brokaw/TruthSayers, except for the blurring part – maybe a WordPress issue? If you know how to fix it, boy, do we want your information technology knowledge.

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