Hello hello hello, MoveOn member,
Lin-Manuel Miranda here. I wrote "Hamilton." I'm writing you today to ask for your help.
Puerto Rico—my family’s island, America’s island—is in desperate need of supplies and resources. Like Texas and Florida, Puerto Rico was just devastated by a natural disaster, but Puerto Rico’s need is magnified by the island’s geographic isolation from the U.S. mainland. It’s been over a week since Hurricane Maria, but so far, help for Puerto Rico is in short supply.
That's why I'm asking for your help with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the relief efforts on the ground through MoveOn, and they will pay 100% of the credit card fees.
There's no shortage of heartbreaking stories about the devastation experienced by people in my beloved Puerto Rico.
From the children still searching for their parents, to the families who've lost everything but one another, to those displaced from the only homes they've ever known … Hurricane Maria's destruction of Puerto Rico has been the most brutal disaster in the island's modern history, leaving a destroyed power grid and unprecedented destruction in its wake.
My cousin Daniela lives in Puerto Rico and is studying to be a veterinarian. Her parents' home in the hills of Vega Alta is practically an animal sanctuary—there are two goats, a number of cats, several bunnies and a few birds, nine dogs(!) and a couple of horses. Her older sister Camila has been studying recently for the MCAT exam—she wants to be a doctor.
Across the street from their home is my Aunt Yamilla's house, formerly the home of my grandparents and the place where my sister and I spent every summer as children. I remember when my grandfather Guisin was building it—at last, he was moving up to the peaceful hills after a life in town.
As Hurricane Maria roared toward Puerto Rico earlier this month, my family in Puerto Rico braced for impact.
They knew that the wooden house built by Abuelo Guisin—my grandparents’ dream home, where I worked on new musicals during summer breaks from college—could not possibly withstand a major hurricane.
For a time, my uncle's concrete house across the street became Noah's ark, as my family sought refuge there—huddled together, along with Daniela's animal menagerie and the precious things that can't be replaced, like family photos and mementos that represent memories of generations of Mirandas.
My late grandfather's dream home is in pieces, the roof and the porch gone. Needless to say, my cousin Camila's MCAT exam has been postponed indefinitely. Thankfully, Noah's ark—my cousins’ family home across the road—still stands, and my family is safe so far.
I’m sharing my family's story to give you just a glimpse of what our island is going through.
The truth is that my family was very lucky compared to many. But they and their fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico now face a host of mounting crises—a lack of running water, a shattered power grid, no access to telephone service, and being unable to connect to the outside world.
There are 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico, each with their own powerful story, and they need our help.
Puerto Ricans need supplies and resources just as badly as their fellow American citizens in Texas and Florida, and this need is magnified by their geographic isolation from the U.S. mainland.
The Hispanic Federation is currently facilitating the deployment of fully-trained and certified first responders, including paying for flights to Puerto Rico and related expenses. These first responders—comprised of NYPD and FDNY members and others—will join relief efforts on the island and provide the technical support and expertise that’s so badly needed. Relief efforts include examining the structural integrity of buildings so that individuals can safely return to their homes to providing basic supplies like food and clean water.
They need your help to keep it up. Click here to make a tax-deductible gift.
With so much to be done and such great urgency before us, let's help Puerto Rico dig out and rise up. Do it for Daniela and Camila and their dreams. Do it for your fellow citizens.
P.S. A version of this letter originally appeared as a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to read it.