AFT Announces $75,000 Donation to Support the Recovery of Educators in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—On Friday, the American Federation of Teachers announced a $75,000 donation to the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico to provide financial assistance to educators in Puerto Rico who continue to be severely impacted by natural disasters, including Hurricane Fiona.
“In the last few years, Puerto Rico has been battered and devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados, leaving them to rebuild over and over again,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “This $75,000 donation will provide a lifeline and help our children and teachers giving their all to assist the island in its recovery. This is what it means to be in a union, and we have a responsibility to lift each and every community up when they are struggling.”
AFT members donate to the Disaster Relief Fund throughout the year to provide support to other members and communities directly impacted by natural or human-made disasters. Proceeds from that fund were used here as well.
In addition to the donation, the AFT and AMPR, accompanied by volunteers from New York State United Teachers, the United Federation of Teachers and other unions, joined dozens of volunteers for a day of service during the 2022 SOMOS Inc. conference at Escuela Antonio Sarriera Egozcue in San Juan, one of the many schools that were heavily impacted by Hurricane Fiona. They helped clean and paint the school and provided students and their families with backpacks and school supplies.
“Our union siblings from the state of New York and the teachers union movement came to Puerto Rico as a result of a powerful alliance with SOMOS to support our teachers, our students and our school communities,” said AMPR President Víctor Bonilla Sánchez. “As part of this visit, the AFT also made a large donation to support the economic recovery of our teachers who have yet to recover from the losses caused by Hurricane Fiona and other disasters. On behalf of all our members, we send our gratitude and solidarity.”
The effort is one of many activities the AFT and AMPR participated in during the SOMOS conference in Puerto Rico. SOMOS Inc. is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that unites the Latino community, raising awareness to improve the socioeconomic and civic status of all Latinos in and outside of New York state, in collaboration with the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.
“As a puertorriqueña, I could not be prouder of today’s disaster relief donation to the resilient teachers and students of Puerto Rico,” said AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus. “I am so grateful to the dozens of volunteers who said ‘presente’ and spent their day ensuring that students have a safe and welcoming school.”
# # # #
The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.