The devastation of Hurricane Maria on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico last September 20th brought campus-wide, humanitarian responses from Capital Community College’s staff, faculty and students throughout the fall semester. Members of the college community joined other organizations and individuals in Greater Hartford with helping hands and resources that are still needed for recovery from the Category 4 storm on the island and to aid displaced families coming to Connecticut from the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico.
Led by Marisol Malave from the Dean of Administration’s office, Early Childhood Lab School teacher Carmen Marrero, the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and Student Senate, the campus community supported a multi-faceted campaign in support of relief efforts.
The campaign was launched on October 4th at a meeting to discuss how Capital could assist with humanitarian relief efforts. Joe Rodriguez, Deputy State Director for U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, shared information on conditions in Puerto Rico and organizing began to respond to the humanitarian crisis.
Organizers immediately joined an online campaign encouraging donations to provide long-lasting solar lights to the people of Puerto Rico amid a loss of electricity that persists into 2018.
A November 10th Dinner Dance at Centinel Hill Hall raised more than $2,600 and counting. Malave and Marrero mobilized a community-wide response for the fund raiser with help from CCC’s Hamish Lutris, Madeline Santiago, Miriam Mercado, Marcia Clark, Marcelle Witten and William Mendoza. Malave thanked Musician Ray Gonzalez, Orquesta Calidad and DJ Carlos Montano for the dinner dance music.
Participating restaurants and caterers included Humacao, Mi Sabor, The Rockin’ Chicken, Donde Julio, Panderia Pan Del Sinai, Sweet Harmony Cafe & Bakery, Tom Caraher’s Papa Tom’s Cookies, Evelyn Echevarria’s Eve’s Catering and Jen Acuna’s Loafing Around. Volunteering additional support were Julio Velez’ JCV Photography and Karla Medina’s Sudor Taino Group Fitness. Proceeds supported the Sudor Taino for Puerto Rico Strong GoFundMe drive.
Lutris credited his students for leading the drive including Milagros Taveras, Joannie Castillo, Rajni Boodhram, Infinity Jemison, Letitia Lewis, Reyna Jusino, Keannu Barton, Eneidaliz Perez, Maria Resto, Claire Williamson and Alfred Easterling.