With large portions of Puerto Rico still without electricity, state legislators are making an emotional plea to help the battered island.
The island was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, and cell phone service and other basic necessities are still unavailable for many residents.
“I haven’t heard from many of my family yet,’’ state Rep. Angel Arce said this week on the floor of the state House of Representatives. “I don’t know if some in my family are dead or if they’re still alive.’’
Arce, a Franklin Avenue resident who represents the 4th district in Hartford, was born in Puerto Rico and came to the United States 50 years ago. He has heard disparaging comments about Puerto Ricans both then and now.
“When I came here in 1967, we faced a lot of this racial stuff,’’ Arce said in an emotional speech. “I thought this was over. … I can’t believe that in 2017 we’re still facing this.’’
He added, “I love the state of Connecticut. I love this country. I love what this country stands for.’’
Arce said the island is willing to accept help from any and all organizations, as well as the federal government.
“I want everybody to know that we Puerto Ricans are very humble,’’ he said. “We come to the rescue for everyone that needs us in a time of need. We never say no to anyone who is in need.’’
Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, a Hartford resident whose three sisters and brother live in Puerto Rico, said the island’s residents had provided assistance after the recent major hurricanes that caused flooding and destruction in Texas and Florida.
“Now, we need help,’’ Gonzalez said. “We have our families and friends dying. We need help.’’
After the speeches, the House members all stood for a moment of silence for the people of Puerto Rico.
Subscribe and listen to the Capitol Watch Podcast