Help youth activist Joanna Cifredo realize her dream of opening a summer camp for youth of the Puerto Rican diaspora.
—The Problem Prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, thousands of Puerto Ricans relocated to the mainland. In 2016 alone, the rate of growth of stateside Puerto Ricans (17.9%) was more than three times the rate of the U.S. population as a whole (4.7%), increasing from about 4.6 million to almost 5.5 million.
This presents a significant problem for Puerto Rican youth relocating stateside who are attending schools that might not have the resources to adequately support the needs of displaced children of color who are overwhelmingly poor, traumatized, with limited English proficiency.
—Who is Joanna? Born in Bayamon, PR to a working-class family, Joanna Cifredo is an LGBTQ activist and youth mentor. Following the destruction of Hurricane Hugo, Joanna and her family migrated to Florida. While there, Joanna began advocating for her own needs as a young transgender Latina. Soon thereafter, she began working as a Youth Health Educator to at-risk youth.
After relocating to Washington, DC in 2012, Joanna worked supporting LGBTQ young people from Central America, translating at legal and medical appointments and organizing outreach events.
During the last years of the Obama Administration, Joanna worked as a policy analyst for racial and economic justice where she lobbied extensively on the Hill for criminal justice reform, immigration reform, the Equality Act, LGBTQ student protections, and against the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
Today, Joanna works with queer youth activists, providing them media coaching, mentorship, and helping them use their voice to effect positive change in their communities.
— What your money will be used for... Joanna is working to bring a group 30 Puerto Rican youth leaders from Puerto Rico and our five largest diasporas in the US (Chicago, Philly, Greater Boston, NYC, and Central Florida) for a week-long celebration of Puerto Rican heritage, culture, and organizing.
Throughout 2019, Joanna aims to build a coalition of community organizers to help host the first youth cohort for Camp Albizu in summer 2020, ahead of the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria.
The money collected through this initial fundraiser will cover the cost of conference fees, professional development training for emerging nonprofit leaders, and allow Joanna to travel back and forth between Puerto Rico, New York, and throughout our diaspora communities in the US in order to network with local activists.
— Camp Albizu Named after one of the leading labor organizers and political activists in the Puerto Rican independence movement, Don Pedro Albizu Campos, Camp Albizu is a diaspora reintegration summer program for Puerto Rican youth.
Mission: “To preserve the history, culture, and beauty of Puerto Rico through telling the story of Boriken and her people. Through education, community, and service, Camp Albizu seeks to instill a sense of pride, responsibility, and belonging in Puerto Rican youth.”
— A Youth-Centered Recovery As the island struggles to recover, we must ask ourselves where do the voices of Puerto Rico’s youth fit in shaping the future of Puerto Rico? How does this displacement affect the sustainability of Puerto Rico and what is the impact on us as a people?
Puerto Rico is in desperate need of young people who are proud of where they come from, who are politically and socially engaged and are passionate about creating a stronger, more sustainable Puerto Rico.
Joanna's vision is for Camp Albizu to bring young Boricuas throughout the diaspora and the island together to collectively build a Puerto Rican youth agenda that aims to solve the largest issues facing their generation in Puerto Rico and beyond.
Please consider helping Joanna kickstart this important project!