Puerto Rico gov: NAACP backs statehood admission
SAN JUAN – During its 109th annual convention, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) expressed itself in favor of Puerto Rico’s self-determination.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, a guest speaker at the event inSan Antonio, Texas, said the island’s colonial relationship with the United States is the “unfinished business of American democracy,” according to a release issued by his office, La Fortaleza.
“Colonialism is political segregation and it has no place in our country. There is a bill in Congress, HR 6246, introduced by Congresswoman Jennif[f]er González, which would put Puerto Rico in a path to statehood. My petition is for you to call your congressmen or congresswoman and demand this piece of legislation be approved. Puerto Ricans have twice voted for statehood, and this pressing issue cannot wait any longer,” the governor said.
After Rosselló’s remarks, the civil rights organization passed an “emergency resolution” endorsing the bill, the Puerto Rico Admission Act, which calls on Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state by 2021.
According to the resolution, “the Puerto Rican Admission Act in a major step towards realizing the democratic will of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico by setting forth a transition process that would result in the formal admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States, on an equal footing and in true permanent union with the other states in all respects, effective no later than January 1st, 2021.”
The NAACP’s stated mission is to “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”
“There is an injustice that damages, hurts, the United States of America. Over four million U.S. citizens in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are governed without their consent,” Rosselló continued in his speech, adding that “as colonial territories of this country, we cannot vote for our president and we have no voting representation in the United States Congress. The Constitution defines us as mere ‘possessions’ of Congress which can be disposed of.”
The convention’s theme, Defeat Hate – Vote, urged “citizens to overcome implicit bias, racial prejudice, and intolerance by electing officials that will uphold the dignity of United States democracy,” according to the release.
Rosselló also praised José Celso Barbosa, a black Puerto Rican who is considered the father of the statehood movement, saying he “understood American society was not immune to racism; however, his experience in the United States showed him a country where ‘all men are created equal,'” the La Fortaleza release reads.
The association issued the following statement on July 19:
“The NAACP has a long history of supporting the democratic value of self-determination.
Our position as it stands seeks to advance the prosperity of the people of Puerto Rico. We, as the NAACP want to ensure that Puerto Ricans receive the resources, and support required to aid their recovery efforts.
We feel our position is especially important following the devastating hurricane and abysmal response from our federal government.
The NAACP stands with the people of Puerto Rico now more than ever, and we affirm our ability to work together in our joint struggle for equal protection, equal opportunity, and free will. Puerto Rico should be free to decide its preferred option in a fair and inclusive manner.”