Correcting a Legacy of Inequity: Addressing Food Insecurity in Puerto Rico
Prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, a series of earthquakes in January 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three adults in Puerto Rico were food insecure. In 2018, the child food insecurity rate was 56% — nearly triple the average for the rest of the United States. And about 44% of the island’s population live in poverty, significantly higher than any US state. The economic effects of natural disasters and COVID have only deepened Puerto Rico’s chronic food insecurity and magnified the gaps in the island’s food safety net that stem from Puerto Rico’s removal from the SNAP program in the 1980s and the creation of the limited Nutrition Assistance Program. MAZON’s Vice President of Public Policy Josh Protas was joined by Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, Public Affairs Specialist and consultant with the Coalition for Food Security for Puerto Rico, and Laura Esquivel, Vice President of Federal Policy and Advocacy for the Hispanic Federation, for a discussion examining systemic issues that have exacerbated the crisis of hunger in Puerto Rico – the stark consequences of a colonial legacy and deeply racist policies – and the vision for change for Puerto Rico.This event is part of MAZON’s 2022 Insider Briefing Series, a series of learning sessions featuring experts from MAZON and from various sectors.