Create a More Positive…Puerto Rico!
Yes, just in time for Women’s Fest 2018, comes a new opportunity to help spread CAMP Rehoboth’s positive message of love, inclusion, and equality to some “friends we’ve yet to meet.” And they can use a bit of all of the above.
Marie Britt is an environmental engineer with the U.S. government, and during the course of her post-Irma work, she had the opportunity to meet LGBTQ+ activist, Cecilia Luz. Cecilia is the Director of the LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As we all know, Puerto Rico is still struggling for many basics, and as always, lesser-empowered communities suffer a disproportionately greater share from the disaster. And, as always, as recovery takes hold, there are losses that were never calculated when lives, water, and food were the only losses that mattered.
But as recovery progresses, the depth of loss reveals itself in a long list of hidden needs. Needs which aren’t urgent now, but as time passes and attention wanes, will almost certainly go unfulfilled. Unless, there is a way to personally ask a community who can answer. And this personal ask is for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico.
Food and shelter needs are understood, but only those of us who know how important it is for our soul and spirit to know we are not alone, will understand the need, the nourishment, behind this request.
Which is why Cecilia Luz shines. Why Marie Britt steps up. And why we get an opportunity to make a meaningful, lasting contribution.
You see, there is a new high school being built on the outskirts of San Juan as part of the ongoing recovery efforts. It will replace one that Irma took and it will be open for classes by the fall. And thanks to the hard work of Cecilia and her associates, this will be the FIRST school in Puerto Rico to have a dedicated section of the library for LGBTQ+ works.
Meanwhile, over at the San Juan Community Center, as a result of the hurricane, no air conditioning, and lots of heat, their library has fallen prey to weather demons, seriously reducing the center’s own collection, never mind attempting to extend for a second one.
Enter Marie Britt. As part of her “day job,” she will be traveling to Puerto Rico. And as part of her “volunteer job,” she is collecting books, to “hand carry”—hopefully in ridiculously copious amounts of over-weight luggage—to support Cecilia’s efforts.
And now, this is where we need our CAMP members, FEST goers, friends, Romans, allies, and anyone who can join us, to participate in several ways. And remember, our letters are LGBTQ+, which means we need everyone to participate, not just Women’s Fest attendees! We are bigger and broader than that! So:
First, if you have older books in excellent condition, Marie will be at a table at the Author Book Fair and Readings on Friday, April 13, 9-2 p.m. at the Atlantic Sands Hotel to collect those books. Now how much fun is this? You can come in, hear an author or two or twelve read (no admission charge!), and buy a book to donate.
Secondly, if you are in a financial position to purchase a book from one or more of the authors, then donate that same book signed to the LGBTQ Community of Puerto Rico, you earn double mitzvah (good karma) points.
You will have helped an author and participated in building a bright future for a burgeoning LGBTQ community. And please let an author know you are doing this so that each author sells only one title for this donation. And authors, if someone is generous and you know you have sold whatever titles you have for donation, please point them to another author they might purchase from.
Let’s make this the happiest of giving for everyone. Not only can you purchase those books at the Author Book Fair on Friday, but also Saturday, at the Expo Tables, again at the Atlantic Sands from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
And third, if it’s Sunday morning and you are able, get up and head out to join the fun at the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk to fight cancer.
… because if you do you will successfully complete the 2018 Triathlon of Mitzvahs.
And help Create a More Positive Puerto Rico! ▼
Stefani Deoul is a television producer and the author of the award-winning YA mystery novel On a LARP from Bywater Books. Contact Stefani.