Puerto Rico newspaper Noticel reported that multiple pro-statehood groups gathered for a march on September 1st, carrying signs saying, “We are many more and we are not afraid!” and “Puerto Rico Chose Statehood”. Participants reported an estimated 2,000 marchers.
Noticel quoted Barbara Collazzo, one of the organizers, as expressing a need for “a peaceful march, a march with respect and that demonstrates and is representative of all the people of Puerto Rico.”
More than 10 different organizations were represented, as well as government leaders including Senators Miguel Romero and Henry Neumann and representatives Jorge Navarro, Pedro Julio “Pellé” Santiago, Víctor Pares, and José Aponte. The executive director of the Office for Socio-Economic Development of the Communities (ODSEC), Jesús Vélez, and the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, Carlos Contreras, were also present.
Most of the marchers, however, were ordinary residents of Puerto Rico. Bystanders said the march has nothing to do with politics. Instead, speakers emphasized points relating to Puerto Rico’s status:
- The 2012 and 2017 votes for statehood
- The need for statehood to provide equality for Puerto Rico
- The importance of gaining representation in the federal government
- The need for statehood to provide Puerto Rico’s votes in the electoral college, allowing Puerto Ricans to vote in presidential elections
- The opportunity to gain equal treatment under federal laws and funding formulas
The march culminated in these speeches, and the presentation of a petition asking that Congress declare Puerto Rica an incorporated territory immediately.