Support the Boricua Human Rights Network
Organized by: Nicole Sugerman
January 17, 2017
I am kicking off my fundraiser for the Boricua Human Rights Network. I am so excited to be raising money for them and I hope you will join me in supporting their work. I am organizing this fundraiser as one the requirements for the Anne Braden Program, a 6-month program for white social justice activists designed to deepen anti-racist leadership in white communities to support multiracial movements for social justice. The program, run by the Catalyst Project and based in California’s Bay Area, is being offered in Philadelphia for the first time, and I've gained so much by being a part of this first Philadelphia cohort.
In the past weeks since Trump's election and the terrifying uptick in hate crimes and visible white supremacist organizing, I've felt a lot of fear and anger, along with a reinforced commitment to keep fighting for social justice. Organizing is going to become much, much, harder for many of us, particularly those who will be most affected by Trump's policies. Funding organizations led by people of color is more important now than ever, and I'd love if you would join me in giving this winter.
I am so excited to fundraise for the Philadelphia chapter of the Boricua Human Rights Network (BHRN). BHRN is a national organization that organizes in the Puerto-Rican diaspora around issues of justice and human rights. Their stated priorities are “(1) The decontamination, development, and return of the island of Vieques to its people; (2) The release of the remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners; (3) An end to the continuing political repression and criminalization of progressive sectors of the Puerto Rican community.” In 1999, they were successful in securing freedom for 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners, and they are currently focusing on freeing the last one remaining in prison, Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been incarcerated for more than 30 years on charges of “seditious conspiracy” for his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico, though he was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. Freeing Oscar Rivera has become only more imperative now that Trump has been elected president; BHRN has less than a month to convince Obama to grant Oscar clemency, and they think they have a chance. Freeing political prisoners will be very difficult under a Trump presidency.
Organizing for the BHRN is both personally and politically important to me. Personally, it’s important because I just married into a Puerto Rican family whom I love! and I live in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, so I feel compelled to support issues that affect my family and neighbors. Politically, I am drawn by the parallels between land sovereignty in Philadelphia, Palestine, and Puerto Rico, and I am excited to draw intersections between the many movements that assert peoples’ rights to their land and resources.
Will you join me in supporting the Boricua Human Rights Network? I am aiming to raise $1000 to support their efforts. In order to reach this goal, I am donating $150 and I am asking my friends and family to donate $10-$50 each. Can you join me in making a donation?
BHRN doesn’t have any fundraising infrastructure- I am going to help them create a donor database- and their efforts are all volunteer. I am also helping them find a fiscal sponsor, but for now, donations will not be tax deductible- I wanted to get them money ASAP so they can use it before the inauguration. Thanks for being a part of this fundraising journey with me, and thank you for reading this! If you have any questions about the Anne Braden Program, the Boricua Human Rights Network, or anything else, please reach out to me! Much love and thanks again.