Everyday Runway

This Designer Called Out President Trump For Treating Puerto Ricans Like Second-Class Citizens During Her NYFW Show

Stella Nolasco turned the catwalk into a political protest at her New York Fashion Week show on Thursday. The famed Puerto Rican designer, who was deeply impacted by Hurricane Maria’s vicious winds and the White House’s substandard relief, dedicated the event to her island.

Before models took to the strip, the room fell pitched-black, as a recording of Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech at the Golden Globes proclaiming a “new day” for girls and women played and a promotional video inspiring the audience to visit Puerto Rico to help revive its tourist industry hit the screens.

When the models, including some of the island’s biggest beauty names, hit the runway, the scene turned political. Former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, 43, headlined the show, proudly waving a Puerto Rican flag. Behind her, Monic Perez, 28, who was Miss Universe Puerto Rico, walked down with a sign that read, “Can’t Say American Without the Rican” while others held banners that said, “We Are US Citizens.”

Can’t say American without the Rican #StellaNolasco #fallwinter2018 #NYFW @monic

A post shared by Stella Nolasco (@stellanolasco) on

The message was clear: Nolasco, like millions of others on her island, isn’t happy with the current administration’s treatment of Puerto Ricans as second-class citizens, especially at a time of great need.

While Nolasco, known for her laced and beaded hand-stitched garbs, wasn’t in the Caribbean when Hurricane Maria hit, her home was flooded, her atelier was left without power and her seamstresses lost everything.

“It was a month of heavy depression, until I decided to make this collection and give it a purpose to help my country,” Nolasco told AFP backstage after her show at Chelsea Piers late Thursday.

Up until last week, Nolasco’s studio, where she worked on the designs for the show, was running on a generator. “It was a huge sacrifice,” she added.

At a time when the people of Puerto Rico, many out of work and without power, water or nutritional food for months, feel helpless, the show made Nolasco “feel useful.”

According to the designer, proceeds from the collection will be donated to the Foundation for Puerto Rico to raise money for better infrastructure and sustainability.

Read: Women At This Year’s Golden Globes Proved Just How Political Fashion Can Get

Let us know your thoughts on Nolasco’s show in the comments!

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Running For Governor Of Puerto Rico In 2020

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Running For Governor Of Puerto Rico In 2020

Last week, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, announced that she is running for governor in the 2020 elections.

Cruz, who gained national attention after criticizing President Donald Trump’s slow and shoddy response to Hurricane Maria, announced her run at the Caguas Botanical Garden on Friday.

“I’ve been thinking for a long time, what’s the best way I can serve Puerto Rico … I’m going to do so by becoming the next governor,” she said.

Cruz, who was sporting a t-shirt that read “¡Sin Miedo!” — which is Spanish for “without fear” — began her address by discussing her great-grandfather, who worked as an agricultural laborer, and how the legacy of slavery still impacts Puerto Rico today.

“We have to break away from the chains that tie us down in order to have a promising future and break our cycle of poverty,” Cruz, speaking on Emancipation Day, a Puerto Rican holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery on the island on March 22, 1873, said.

In Puerto Rico, the political party system is linked to the island’s political status. Those who support statehood, like sitting Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, are part of the New Progressive Party, more commonly known by the Spanish acronym PNP. People who want Puerto Rico to remain a US territory side with the Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, the party that Cruz is running in. Finally, those who want the island’s independence from the US often support the Puerto Rican Independence Party, or PIP.

After the Category 4 hurricane ravaged the island on September 20, 2017, Cruz, not Gov. Rosselló, became the face of the island, wading through flood water to help those devastated by the storm and publicly feuding with the president. When announcing her candidacy, she reminded the crowd that Gov. Rosselló’s administration “was unable to count deaths after Hurricane Maria” and “stood by Trump when he threw paper towels at people [in Puerto Rico].”

Cruz also took the opportunity to voice her position on other pressing matters on the island, like repealing the Jones Act, which prevents foreign ships from embarking on the island and thus raises the cost of imported goods, eliminating the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board and calling for an audit of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion public debt.

“The reality is that we still live in an island that fights for food, liberty and land,” she said, referring to the PPD’s Spanish slogan “Pan, libertad y tierra.” “We’re building a new movement within the Popular Democratic Party.”

Last month, Cruz also announced that she would co-chair Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2020 presidential race, saying the candidate could create “a new path toward the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico,” including establishing a “new relationship” with the United States.

Read: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Believes Bernie Sanders Could Create A “New Relationship” Between Puerto Rico And The US

Bernie Sanders is running for president in 2020, and he just tapped San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to co-chair his campaign.

The Puerto Rican leader, a vocal opponent of President Trump, told NBC News that she’s supporting the Vermont senator, who announced his second bid for head of state on Tuesday, because of their history of working together “for a path for Puerto Rico.”

“A lot of the things he’s been fighting for all his life I’ve been fighting for all my life, things like let’s not put wealth before health,” she said, noting additional shared efforts like education, the rights of people in the LGBTQ community, collective bargaining and more.

In 2018, Sanders co-sponsored, alongside fellow presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a bill to slash Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt. He also introduced a $146 billion recovery plan for the island, though the bill never made it out of committee.

Still, Cruz believes he is the candidate that would create “a new path toward the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico,” including establishing a “new relationship” with the United States.

“In our darkest hour, he was there for us, not because it was politically convenient but because it was the right thing to do,” she said.

The mayor, who reached national fame for criticizing Trump’s slow, shoddy and insulting response to Puerto Rico’s recovery, said this election is “personal.”

“The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

She continued: “Right now the United States has a president in the White House who is not up to the job. He does not represent values of integrity and unity, values of inclusion.”

While US citizens, Puerto Ricans living on the island are unable to vote in the general election, though they can vote in primaries.

Cruz is one of four co-chairs to Sanders’ campaign. The others include Sen. Nina Turner (D-Ohio), US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen.

Read: Puerto Rico’s Real-Life Wonder Woman Just Announced She’s Interested In Running For Governor And We Can’t Wait To See What’s Next

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