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This Woman Just Married Puerto Rico — And Buying Her A Wedding Gift Will Help Aid The Island

Mariposa Fernandez couldn’t walk her bride down the aisle, so she brought a Puerto Rican flag with her instead. It was the best symbol to represent the love of her life, and new esposa: the Caribbean island.

The Bronx, New York-based poeta tied the knot with Puerto Rico on Nov. 1 at a ceremony that helped raise support for islanders ravished by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“The wedding came out of the tragedy and the horror of Hurricane Irma and Maria,” Fernandez told News 12 The Bronx.

Since the storms struck two months ago, thousands of islanders still lack running water and more than half are without power. The latest reports note that at least 55 people died from the hurricanes, though other estimates place the number close to 1,000, and damages will cost the debt-ridden territory about $95 billion.

At the wedding, Fernandez made an enduring commitment to Puerto Rico, even promising to love and protect it for as long as she shall live and encouraging her 100 guests to take a similar oath.

“Our commitment to our homeland needs to be a lifelong commitment and so my guests are invited to, along with me, make a lifelong vow to love, honor and cherish Puerto Rico, mother earth and humanity, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer… and call for a free Puerto Rico,” she wrote in a note on her Amazon wedding registry.

While the ceremony included a traditional Puerto Rican dinner and three-layer wedding cake, the bride, dressed in an all-white gown and tiara, really brought attendees together to raise money and donations for the island.

Fernandez’s wedding registry only included items that will benefit Puerto Rico, supplies like batteries, water filters and solar light bulbs as well as goods like seeds to grow fruits and vegetables as well as medicine, mosquito repellant and diapers.

Most of the items on the registry are still available for purchase, and people on the Internet are buying up to help the island. The newlywed says she plans on taking the gifts with her on a trip to Puerto Rico next month.

While the focus was on relief, the wedding was also very political, with Fernandez making several demands in response to the humanitarian, education, debt and climate crises. Among them: A request to FEMA to release material aid currently sitting at ports on the island, a call on the media to report on and expose the injustices taking place, a plea for everyone to help protect the island from disaster exploitation and corporate vultures, and a demand for Washington to cancel the debt, repeal the Jones Act and free Puerto Rico.

This isn’t Fernandez’s first wedding. The poet-activist, who has been featured on HBO’s “Habla Ya!” as well as programs on BET and PBS, got hitched with herself in 2001, a ceremony she described as a “declaration of self-love.”

#defendprparade #oscarlopezrivera #OscarLopez #puertorico #BORICUA

A post shared by Mariposa (@lapoetamariposa) on

While both of her marriages are entirely symbolic with no legality, her latest “I do” certainly shows the wholehearted love Puerto Ricans of the diaspora have for their island and the responsibility and dedication they share in envisioning and creating a new sustainable, decolonized and just Puerto Rico.

“This has been an extremely difficult time, a scary time that has filled Puerto Ricans both aqui y allá with sadness, worry, rage and grief. Marrying the island and her diaspora is a poetic way to bring my family and community together, to celebrate how much we love Puerto Rico and to commit to the process of demanding a #JustRecovery and a sustainable future for a free Puerto Rico where we can all thrive together,” Fernandez said.

READ: Donald Trump Said Puerto Rico Wants ‘Everything To Be Done For Them,’ But These Women Are Proving Him Wrong

Make a donation to Puerto Rico by purchasing items from Mariposa’s wedding registry and let us know what you think about her ceremony 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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