Readout of Biden Administration Officials Virtual Meeting with Non-Government Agencies (NGOs) Working in Puerto Rico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2021
For the first time, Members of the Biden Administration, including representatives from the Domestic Policy Council, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Cabinet Secretary’s and the White House Covid-19 Response team, met today with Hispanic Federation and representatives of over 100 leading non-governmental organizations in Puerto Rico to discuss issues facing the island. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 7) also participated in the call, along with Composer, Lyricist and Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and Founding HF President, Luis Miranda, who have been supporting rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico through the Miranda Family Fund.
The meeting was organized by Hispanic Federation, which has invested over $40 million since Hurricanes Irma and Maria to over 130 local partners across the archipelago. The discussion covered issues such as the need to improve federal disaster efforts, including greater transparency, creating parity in federal programs, particularly those intended to alleviate poverty, the need for a sustainable energy infrastructure built on renewables, environmental and racial justice issues and the importance of working with local NGOs, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Representatives from the NGOs highlighted the health and socio-economic disparities residents of the island face which are rooted in systemic racism and colonialism and called on the Biden Administration to address these factors holistically in efforts to assist Puerto Rico. Participants also discussed the slow and troubling federal response and asked Administration officials to de-prioritize energy and infrastructure projects currently submitted for approval which will exacerbate environmental damage and perpetuate poor health outcomes on the island.
Administration officials reiterated President Biden’s commitment to Puerto Rico, highlighting the importance of hosting the call within the first week of his term.
To read the Biden-Harris Plan for Recovery, Renewal, and Respect for Puerto Rico visit: joebiden.com/the-biden-harris-plan-for-recovery-renewal-and-respect-for-puerto-rico
To learn more about Hispanic Federation’s immediate priorities for Puerto Rico visit: www.hispanicfederation.org/primero100/climate/#puerto