Muffy Ashley Torres has spent the past ten days wondering whether her family is safe.
“My heart is broken. In piece,” Torres said at a protest Friday. “It looks like a horror film in Puerto Rico.”
Demonstrators gathered at Thomas Paine Plaza, urging the U.S. government to provide more relief to Puerto Rico after a Category 4 hurricane battered the island last week.
The event was organized by Voces del Barrio, a Philly-based grassroots organization, and Diaspora in Action, a nationwide coalition created in September.
More than 100,000 Puerto Ricans live in Philadelphia, and the connection to the island is strong.
“I think this rally is about feeling for those in diaspora who are desperate, desperate, to help their families and they’re unable to. We are unable to,” said Priscilla Bell, a member of Voces del Barrio, hours before the event.
At the protest, demonstrators stressed the need for hurricane relief. Chants from the protesters tackled a number of issues. Some urged the U.S. government to cut Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt. Others called for the repeal of the Jones Act.
On Thursday, Trump authorized a waiver to the Jones Act, a law that only allows U.S. goods to be transported on U.S. ships when traveling to different American coasts.
The act’s waiver will allow more supplies to flow to the island— but only for 10 days.
“It’s not enough. Ten days is just not enough for the island to recover,” Bell said. “I mean, everything’s in shambles.”
Here are some of the scenes from the protest: