This summer a select group of young, El Puente leaders, with the support of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, will journey from North Brooklyn to Puerto Rico to pioneer what will become an annual collective, self-help initiative on climate change between our leading members and the young leaders of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. El Puente's goal is to build a bridge with Mexico and the Latino Caribbean so as to connect our communities with their homelands and work in the spirit of Pope Francis' encyclical, "Laudato Sî".
Starting this coming Saturday, August 29, for seven days, six El Puente members some of whom have been trained by Vice, the documentary film company, will crisscross Puerto Rico, joining with young people and adults residing on the Island, to document and actually participate in confronting the global warming crisis in Puerto Rico. They, accompanied by El Puente staff from our headquarters as well as from Puerto Rico, will engage with major environmental organizations as well as cultural and political institutions to better understand the history of the human rights/environmental justice struggle in Puerto Rico.
El Puente's Latino Climate Action Network (LCAN) Ambassadors will come to see Puerto Rico not only as the poorest political entity of U.S. citizens, but as a Caribbean leader who, with the support of 4.6 million stateside Puerto Ricans, working hand in hand with millions of Cuban, Dominican and Mexican-Americans, can begin to ameliorate, somewhat, the suffering of the Caribbean, especially, in regard to the crisis of climate change.
As Pope Francis pointed out, it is the poor nations to the South that will suffer disproportionately for the lifestyle of western countries. It is the ethical obligation of the industrialized nations to help those to whom they have knowingly or unconsciously unleashed so much disastrous harm.
El Puente plans to add a country or two a year so that in three to four years we will be able to send four teams of El Puente leaders to the four LCAN countries and continue that collective bridge building every year hence. Young people will work with their respective countries throughout the year in constant communication to learn from each other and coordinate their efforts toward climate change mitigation, adaptation and resiliency.
The "trial run" in Puerto Rico this coming week will inform us of how best to proceed the next and following years. Our young leaders, together with their Island counterparts, will evaluate the entire trip and make the recommendations necessary to make this project a major success.
Event Details: The student visit will be part of a larger campaign led by El Puente, a 34 year old, North Brooklyn based, human rights driven, community/youth development institution. The campaign began in 2013 when El Puente organized, in Puerto Rico, the first Leadership Summit that including the active participation of the present and former governors, as well as the head of the Catholic Church and leaders of other religious denominations on the Island. At the Summit (El Encuentro) El Puente launched the Latino Climate Action Network (LCAN), which is organizing summits and/or major events in Puerto Rico, Orlando, New York and Boston as well as Puerto Rico. LCAN is bringing together environmentalists, academics, artists and community, religious and public leaders to take steps toward Global Warming mitigation, adaptation and resiliency.