Puerto Rico in the Wake of Crisis: Toward a Just (After)life of Disaster
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin are pleased to announce a symposium that focuses on Puerto Rico one year after Hurricane Maria, bringing together scholars, activists, and artists from the island and the diaspora to reflect on how Maria and its aftermath have affected their work. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on November 30 and December 1, 2018. Please register here.
Before September of 2017, Puerto Rico, one of the longest held colonial possessions in the world, was already facing a dire economic crisis and resulting large-scale out migration. With the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the island’s vulnerabilities were exposed for the entire world to see, as was the face of 21st century colonialism. One year after these ecological disasters, and in the midst of the island’s continued debt spiral, this symposium aims to bring together a group of scholars, activists and artists to discuss what these various crises have meant for them and their work. How have they had to reconsider their roles as scholars, activists, and artists? What do they see as the most pressing needs of their work and how do they engage those needs? Through a series of roundtable discussions and together with community partners and Austin’s growing Puerto Rican community, we hope to foster a dialogue about what the afterlives of these crises might mean for Puerto Rico and how we as scholars, activists, and artists can use our work to engage in a just recovery.
The symposium will also feature a keynote event with New York-based activist Elizabeth Yeampierre. Yeampierre, an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader, is executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. She has been highly visible in organizing in response to the twin crises of debt and environmental devastation both before and after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Yeampierre is also the fourth annual speaker in the Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, a series jointly sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Rothko Chapel of Houston, Texas. She will deliver her lecture, “Climate Justice: The Time is Now, The Place is Here,” on Thursday, November 29 at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, before coming to Austin to participate in the symposium on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1.
The symposium is organized by Professor Mónica Jiménez (African and African Diaspora Studies; Rapoport Center Faculty Affiliate) and the Rapoport Center. Our generous co-sponsors include: the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, the Center for Mexican-American Studies, the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts, African and African Diaspora Studies Department, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Department of History, the Department of English, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and Planet Texas 2050. Read more about our partners here.