Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief

The Centros de Apoyo Mutuo are only some examples of the countless grassroots projects that reflect the spirit of Luisa Capetillo. Taller Salud, a radical feminist clinic in the largely black city of Loíza, has been rebuilding the homes that Irma destroyed. There is also the Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, founded in 2014, which now delivers food, supplies, and money for tarps. Lawyers teach Puerto Ricans how to fill out FEMA forms in their squatted building in San Juan. The Santurce punk club, El Local, whose sweat-soaked, cigarette-blurred nights I sketched, operates a community kitchen that feeds six hundred people a day. Many of these groups honed their activist skills fighting the punishing austerity cuts that the US imposed to address the Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

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