UIC Hosts Discussions on Future of Puerto Rico, Post-Hurricane Maria


Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will be the keynote speaker at, “Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, and the Crisis of Colonialism,” a daylong symposium hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Social Justice Initiative along with the Union for Puerto Rican Students, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and the Puerto Rican Agenda. A series of panel discussions will serve to provide critical reflection on the future of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year.

En Español


April 20
9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Illinois Room, Student Center East
750 S. Halsted St.


Months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the majority of the island remains without clean water or electricity as several hundred thousand inhabitants have relocated to the U. S., continuing a decades-long trend.

The symposium is composed of several panel discussions with experts, filmmakers, scholars and activists from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The event will place the current moment within a longer historical and political context, and raise awareness about the racial, colonial, environmental and economic underpinnings of the natural disaster.

Questions to be addressed include: What was learned from previous experiences and responses to environmental disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti? How has Hurricane Maria transformed Puerto Rico’s political landscape and image? What roles can the Puerto Rican diaspora and communities in solidarity play during the rebuilding process? What strategies offer possibilities for resisting the further colonization and corporate exploitation of Puerto Rico?

9 to 9:30 a.m. – Welcome and introduction

9:30 to 11:30 a.m. – Puerto Rico, New Orleans, and Haiti: Environment, Race Class and Empire

12:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Puerto Rico in the Wake of Maria: The Politics of Survival and Sovereignty

3 to 5 p.m. – Behind the Lens, After the Storm: A Discussion with Puerto Rican Filmmakers

6 to 7:30 p.m. – Keynote Address: San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz

The symposium is co-sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and the Crossroads Fund. Members of the media who are interested in covering the symposium should contact Carlos Sadovi at csadovi@uic.edu or Brian Flood at bflood@uic.edu.

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