Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis is worsening and there are two important ways you can act.
Last week, our executive director Eric LeCompte testified before Congress on the human impact of Puerto Rico's debt crisis and urged Congress to act on clear solutions to protect the 3.5 million Americans living on the island.
Please watch and share Eric's 7 minute congressional testimony. This is a critical moment for Puerto Rico and spreading Jubilee USA's solutions to the crisis across social media can make a big impact.
Eric was a powerful witness to Congress. "Self-imposed austerity in Puerto Rico is already proving harmful and counter-productive," Eric told a packed hearing room and a dozen members of Congress. "At the root of today's hearing lies the question, 'How do we prevent a future debt crisis in Puerto Rico?'"
At the hearing, Eric noted that nearly half of Puerto Rico's population lives in poverty. He talked about how some special education teachers on the island aren't being paid, 200 schools have closed, funding for law enforcement is declining and 10% of the population has left in the last ten years. He noted that Puerto Rico even slashed its health budget, and is now more vulnerable to the Zika virus that is spreading on the island.
With Congress debating solutions right now - some good, some bad - we need your help.
Please call Congress and urge your representatives to support bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico. After Eric testified, the House of Representatives is now scheduled to advance legislation in weeks and your phone call can make the difference in shaping the outcome.
Because of your partnership - we are changing the story on Puerto Rico and moving toward better solutions. In partnership with the island's Catholic Archbishop, Lutheran Bishop, Methodist Bishop, the head of Puerto Rico's Bible Society - we responded as soon as the crisis came to a head in July. The religious leaders were the first to respond with Archbishop Roberto González Nieves call to address the crisis in Time Magazine. By the end of the summer all major religious leaders - from the Evangelicals to the Pentecostals, called on Congress, the Federal Reserve, the White House and Treasury to take greater action. National US mainland religious bodies like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops also joined the campaign.
Then you started generated thousands of letters, petitions and calls to Congress to support bankruptcy protection from Congress. On Capitol Hill your national Jubilee USA team has led a respected, nonstop and powerful campaign that already transformed how dozens of Republicans and Democrats view the crisis.
And now, our efforts - hand in hand with Puerto Rico's major religious leaders - moved Congress to take the issue seriously and set a timeline for action.
Along with our efforts focused on Congress and the Executive Branch, we worked with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to bring the issue to the United Nations in December. Archbishop Roberto González and Eric LeCompte offered powerful speeches to protect Puerto Rico's people.
Finally I wanted to share some recent media coverage of our Puerto Rico efforts. Since the final days of 2015, Jubilee USA's work has already featured in numerous prominent news outlets, including the Associated Press, New York Times, Foreign Policy, El Nuevo Dia, US News and World Report, Pacifica Radio, National Public Radio and Catholic News Service, Value Walk, the National Catholic Reporter and your home town paper. Please don't forget to share Eric's testimony on twitter and facebook.