Pine Ridge and Puerto Rico

The video below from the Lakota People’s Law Project shows the disastrous effects of the Midwest flooding continue. The message from Julian Bear Runner, Oglala Sioux President, mentions the U.S. Congress went into recess without providing funding to help the communities in many places that have been devastated by climate catastrophes.

He points out both the common needs, and common lack of response of the Republican administration to Pine Ridge and Puerto Rico, and asks:

“Why does President Trump refuse to send needed aid to poor communities of color in the aftermath of natural disasters?”

Julian Bear Runner

That is a crucial question for our future. We will all be impacted by increasingly frequent and devastating climate catastrophes. Those who believe in peace and justice must put all our efforts into breaking the hold of the privileged few on the resources needed for recovery and survival, of which Pine Ridge and Puerto Rico are the most recent examples. One of the things I love about the Sunrise Movement is the commitment to seeing that resources get to communities of color, those who have borne the brunt of economic and environmental injustice. Everything I have seen about the Sunrise Movement has demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and diversity. The Movement practices what it preaches.

Neither are we alone in our struggle. The US Congress recently went on recess without having decided on an urgently important item: communities throughout the Midwest, California, and Puerto Rico are all still reeling from the fallout of climate-related catastrophes, but the legislature remains gridlocked on providing relief. The hangup? President Donald Trump refuses to endorse any aid package that includes more than a pittance for Puerto Rico.

In the new video from the Lakota People’s Law Project, you’ll see how recent storms have affected our Oglala Nation’s families. I know that many in Puerto Rico still face similar problems. A few weeks back, I watched as Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, described the ongoing struggles for her island. I was heartened that, even given her own dire situation, she took time to mention the emergency here at Pine Ridge.
Our mutual situation makes you wonder: Why does President Trump refuse to send needed aid to poor communities of color in the aftermath of natural disasters?

This week, I will send a formal letter to Mayor Cruz expressing our tribe’s solidarity with Puerto Rico. It’s possible we can work together to increase awareness of our twin emergencies, bolster the chances of federal relief, and provide for our citizens. It is my sincere hope that both Puerto Rico and Pine Ridge will receive all funding needed to rebuild.

Please join us and pray for Congress and FEMA to provide essential aid for underserved communities throughout our country. With compassion and cooperation, we can build together toward a brighter future — for Pine Ridge, for Puerto Rico, and for the world we share.


Wopila tanka,
Julian Bear Runner
Oglala Sioux Tribal President
℅ Lakota People’s Law Project
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