The Puerto Rican Diaspora Summit will take place on September 14th and 15th in Washington, D.C. This meeting will focus on discussions of policy and community response relating to Puerto Rico’s recovery after Hurricane Maria.
The meeting is taking place at the UDC School of Law and is sponsored by Friends of Puerto Rico, National Puerto Rican Agenda, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Somos Washington D.C., BoricuActivate, Cenadores Puerto Rico, Oficina de la Alcaldesa para Asuntos Latinos, UDC – Latino/a Law Students Association, and Boricuas Unidos en la Diaspora.
“The diaspora” here refers to the five million plus residents of the 50 states who moved from Puerto Rico to a state, and their children and grandchildren who were born in the states and live in a state, but still identify as Puerto Rican.
There are more Puerto Ricans in the diaspora than there are living in Puerto Rico. Some leaders want the diaspora to have more say in Puerto Rico’s status discussions; Rep. Nydia Velazquez tried to amend HR 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010, to allow Puerto Ricans in the states to vote.
Those who live in the States, however, have voting members in Congress to represent their views. Those living on the Island do not. The result may be that the diaspora actually has more influence than the residents of Puerto Rico.
The event will begin on Friday with a networking event and a presentation of the film Bancarrota, by Jose M. Umpierre. The movie, “Bankruptcy” in English, will be followed by a discussion about Puerto Rico’s debt.
On Saturday, there are discussion sessions and panels on topics ranging from reconstruction efforts and the electric grid in Puerto Rico to good governance and opportunities for economic development.
BoricuActivatEd will also hold a workshop on how to advocate for Puerto Rico. This organization’s goal is to “empowering the five million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland (the Diaspora) to advocate for the interest of the 3.4 million living on the Island.”
This is the third annual Diaspora Summit.