There's no question about it, those living in Puerto Rico have embodied resiliency like never before. While hundreds of thousands are expected to make their way stateside this year alone, there are thousands of others that have nowhere else to call home. This is where we get to play our part. Help us reach our 10k goal to kick off a month long of RECONSTRUCTION and REBUILDING of homes in one of the most underserved districts on the Island - Comerio, Puerto Rico.
Underserved communities in the towns located in the interior of the island are faced with the greatest challenges, being financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically drained and exploited. One of these towns is Comerio, where the people are rising to take matters into their own hands.
“We didn’t come here to ‘do’, we came here to be a part of something happening.” - Edgardo Larregui Rodriguez
Shortly after Hurricane Maria rampaged the island, the Defend Puerto Rico project and Coco de Oro joined forces and resources to support the community of Vuelta del Dos, located in the neighborhood of Barrio Palomas in Comerio.
Defend Puerto Rico's Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzu and Coco de Oro's Edgardo Larregui Rodriguez have visited the community Vuelta del Dos on 12 different occasions with the support of many community members and organizers. In partnership, they coordinated 7 brigades spending long days canvassing, distributing dozens of bags of food and supplies and installing as many solar powered lamps as they could get their hands on.
Eli, Edgardo and over 20 volunteers have managed to connect with countless of other efforts. In collaboration with Heart to Heart, a full day health clinic was organized and with the help of Fundación Plato Caliente 200 food plates were delivered. Families from Comerio have been a part of the efforts since day one too, helping to install 8 tarps, paint common areas (thank you Benjamin Moore!), and tending to gardens with a focus on using techniques that would expand opportunities for local food production.
But rebuilding homes seemed to be the highest priority. After a few weeks spent identifying the houses that were severely damaged, the group decided that - with the support of stateside allies - they would undertake fixing roofs, and thinking through the next phase of reconstruction for a handful of the structures.
Why? From the start, the people of Comerio have been the true heroes. Now, it is our duty to responsibly reimagine a future for the island with them, for them, but we cannot do it without YOU. Help us reach our 10K goal to support the first two homes we will focus on. Stay tuned for NEW content shedding light on these incredible people.
$6,500.00 - Casa #1 // Familia Johana Gonzales & Ramón “Chino” Collante
Members: 6 ( 2 adults, 4 children. 1 of the kids has autism)
Family lost the entire roof, walls and all their belongings. They are currently staying at a shelter. A tarp was provided and installed with the help of the community.
$3,500.00 - Casa #2 // Familia Manuel y Blanca
Members: 12 ( 2 elders, 6 adults, 3 teenagers)
Family lost their roof, along with various electrical goods, furniture and personal belongings. A tarp was provided and installed with the help of the community.
Every penny counts, but here's where you can start:
- A $20 donation will go towards funding transportaion
- A $50 donation will go towards funding labor
- A $100 donation will go towards funding basic supplies to get us started on Casa #1
- A $200 donation will go towards funding materials for the structure
WHY IT MATTERS
Puerto Rico has seen a level of destruction that it has never experienced before, and the same amount of resilience. While the crisis has been aggravated by the poor emergency relief management, delays caused by bureaucratic processes, and the cabotage laws imposed by the Jones Act, the people living on the island are coming together to redefine this moment.
It will take decades before Puerto Rico “bounces back”, so they say. As we continue to work with underserved districts like Comerio to support with revitalization efforts - we welcome your financial contributions AND challenge you to continue to activate supporters and allies through dialogue and action.
Edgardo T. Larregui Rodríguez is a painter, photographer, draftsman and urban artist. Obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Escuela Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico in 2003. Since 1998 he has developed an art project for the youth community in several disenfranchised neighborhoods throughout Puerto Rico, called Coco de Oro. As part of the 1st Biennial of Urban Art "GRAPOPHOLI 2008", he created the 240 feet in longitude mural “Expropiados” (Dispossessed), which runs along the Baldorioty de Castro Avenue outside the Puerto Rico Museum of Art. He was winner of the Third Prize from Certamen de Arte Joven de Oriental Bank dePuerto Rico in 2009. He has exhibited individually in Puerto Rican galleries and has participated in several group exhibits in the United States, Puerto Rico, Spain and England. Larregui works with various mediums like graffiti, painting, drawing and photography to communicate his concerns about the problems of Puerto Rican society.
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is a film director. His unique style blends a modern visual aesthetic with relevant content. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he received his MA degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to graduation, the Pan-African Film Festival honored Eli with the Student Filmmaker Award for his first solo feature length film, Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano. Eli continues to utilize music as a tool to provide insight into culture and socio/political community struggles. In 2010, he released his second film, Home Grown: Hip Life in Ghana. His current production Revolucion Sin Muertos “Revolution Without Death” captures a youth movement in Comuna 13 in Medellin, Colombia, where Hip Hop is utilized to empower a Peace Movement.
Capturing stories for non-profits, Eli has also carved a niche working to further the missions of organizations like Ford Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity Inc., Microsoft Research India, Youth Speaks, La Pena, Sol Collective Arts and Cultural Center, National Black Filmmaker Foundation and the National Institute of Culture & History in Belize. Other clients include the Sundance Channel, Luna Productions and Ted X. His work has circulated through the National Broadcast: Free Speech TV, Teaching Channel and PBS. He was honored in 2005 with a Webby Award for Best Political Website. His dedication to his craft is deeply connected to his commitment to social justice and the belief in the transformative power of film.