Hope for the displaced

Carmen Yulín Cruz, former mayor of San Juan and distinguished fellow at Mount Holyoke College, reflects on the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria.

By Keely Sexton

When Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, killing thousands and displacing two-thirds of the island’s population, Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan at the time, sprang into action and worked round the clock to help her constituents — and compatriots — repair and rebuild as well as they could.

Four years later, Connecticut Public Television filmed a special report to look into the lives of the displaced. Cruz, now the Harriet L. Weissman and Paul M. Weissman distinguished fellow in Leadership at the Weissman Center for Leadership, spoke to host Brenda León. 

Cruz works to improve conditions, education, access to resources and opportunities for Puerto Ricans in the continental U.S. She reflected on the pain caused by the hurricane and its aftermath, particularly for the 13,000 Puerto Ricans who emigrated to Connecticut after the hurricane destroyed their island lives. 

“We owe it to the memory of those who didn’t make to not be content with surviving but to aspire to thrive.”

Watch the special.