SYRACUSE, N.Y. – (NCC News) This week, Hispanic and Puerto Rican organizations are coming together to commemorate the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and raged on for two days. By the time it left the island, it had destroyed the power grid, dropped 30 inches of rain on the island and left some towns 80-90 percent destroyed according to local officials. The revised death toll, as of August 2018, is at 2,975.
The Spanish Action League of Syracuse reports that 500 people fled the island for Syracuse in the aftermath of the hurricane. So, a week of commemoration and reflection is underway for those in the community still trying to heal from last year’s trauma.
The first event on Thursday, September 20 is called “Voces en Exilo” – which roughly translates to “voices in exile.” The date marks the one-year anniversary of the storm and the event is at the La Casita Cultural Center on Otisco Street in West Syracuse. A video created by the Puerto Rican Student Association & La L.U.C.H.A of Syracuse University called “A Year After Hurricane María” will be shown. After that, Aleksandre Roderick Lorenz, an SU student, and will perform selected songs on his viola, accompanied by cellist Mia Chou-Li Tsai.
The Hendricks Chapel Choir will also perform at “Voces en Exilio.” Choir Director José Calvar has composed an original song for the event, titled “Voces en Exilio: Kyrie.”
On Sunday, the reflections conclude at the Dean’s Convocation at Hendricks Chapel on Syracuse University’s campus. The choir will perform again and commentary about the experience of displaced hurricane victims will be featured.