As we listen and read the news of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, there are many natives on the island and descendants on the mainland with family who feel heartbroken over the destruction. Carmelo Anthony is no different.
In a powerful essay for The Players Tribune, Melo puts pen to page and doesn’t hold back. He asks the reader to imagine what it truly means to be without power for up to six months, as they’re expecting la isla de encanto will be.
“I’m half Puerto Rican and I’m proud of it,” he writes. “Puerto Ricans are my people. But this is about more than that. Puerto Ricans are our fellow Americans. Puerto Ricans are our fellow man. They need our help.”
He talks about how he, like so many Puerto Ricans, have been feeling immense dread as he texts his loved ones on the island and receives no response in return. For the past several days, there have been many reports of people trying to get messages to their family members and friends with no avail.
“Imagine texting someone you love and getting no response for more than a day,” he asks. “I’m just hoping and praying that one person hits me back and gives me some kind of update on what’s going on — lets me know that everything’s OK. But I know it’s not OK.”
In the piece he shares his YouCaring donation page, which he started himself with an immediate $50,000 donation and an aim to raise a total of a million dollars. He’s been doing community work on the island for the past 10 years now, specifically helping in redeveloping basketball courts in slum areas such as La Perla in Old San Juan. While he admits there are so many things going on in the world, he sends out a desperate plea for help.
“I know to a lot of people reading the news, it’s just a headline,” he writes. “But man, if you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you already know the spirit of the people. The joy of those kids. The energy and good vibes you feel the minute you step on the island.”