TAMPA, Fla. — More than a year after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the storm's effects are still being felt by the hundreds of thousands of families who moved to the states.
This week, the University of South Florida hosted a conference to take a closer look and analyze those effects.
- "Puerto Rico se levanta" conference met Friday
- Panelists examined recovery efforts, continuing impacts
- Participants attempted to come up with proposals, solutions
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"Puerto Rico se Levanta" featured a series of speakers and panels focused on challenges Puerto Rican families are still facing months after the storm.
USF student Sebastian Frontera was one of the people at the conference. He recently transferred from the University of Puerto Rico due to the hurricane’s effects on the school.
“The school was very affected, we had to ask students to help the university come back and rebuild what was broken after the hurricane,” he said.
During the daylong conference, panelists looked at subjects such as recovery efforts and the hurricane’s impact on Florida.
“Some of those things in terms of looking at differentials out here and see what we can do in the future, moving on from the storm and some of the displacement of Puerto Ricans here,” said panelist Fernando Rivera, director of the Puerto Rico research hub at UCF.
In additions, panelists identified some ongoing issues, such as housing and education.
At the end of the day, panelists tried to come up with solutions to those problems, with a roundtable discussion on how they can create change.
“I'm hoping for some proposals, some actions that could be taken, at least some lessons learned,” said Bernd Reiter, director of USF’s Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean.
“I think that USF has taken an opportunity like this, like diversity and even adversity from Puerto Rico, to show up and say, ‘Here we are for Puerto Rico, here we are for the Latino community,’ and I think it's great that they’re doing this,” Frontera said.