Latin American Law Students Association Hosts Hurricane Fiona Relief Fundraiser Raffle in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic


Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18, devastated Puerto Rico and the neighboring Dominican Republic. More than 32 inches of rain fell resulting in more than 1,000 rescues and leaving more than a million homes without power. To show support for those affected by the natural disaster, the Cornell Latin American Law Students Association is holding a raffle fundraiser.

LALSA raises funds to support community organizations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Three different organizations, Cabarete Sostenible, Brigada Solidaria del Oeste and Taller Salud accept physical and monetary donations. In order to engage students, the LALSA raffle will offer students a chance to win Cornell merchandise. To enter the raffle, students can donate to one of three organizations and provide a screenshot.

Cabarete Sostenible provides access to food in the Dominican Republic. Brigada Solidaria del Oeste is a self-help initiative funded after Hurricane Maria to provide community support to Puerto Ricans in need and Taller Salud is a women’s empowerment organization that uses all donations to this fundraiser to provide food, water, shelter and emergency services to those affected.

Cornell law student and fundraiser organizer Leslie Ramirez graduate discussed its importance.

“When Hurricane Fiona hit, we as Latino students at Cornell felt the need to mobilize quickly to help our own communities,” Ramirez said. “We know that historically Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic haven’t received much relief after hurricanes, so we wanted to contribute, even if it’s just a tiny bit, to help ease the burden. of those affected.”

The deadline to donate is Friday, October 21. The money will go directly to organizations working on the ground to provide food, aid and other resources to people in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

LALSA has also set up a box in front of the Dean of Students’ office for physical donations such as non-perishable food, disposable food containers, personal hygiene items, disposable cutlery and bottled water.

“We really wanted to help our brothers and sisters,” Ramirez said. “We will continue to fundraise as more natural disasters occur.”

Students can donate directly to the organization of their choice through a form where people can upload screenshots, then they’ll be entered into a raffle to win Cornell apparel. LALSA has also partnered with the Latin American Law Students Association of Columbia University to assist in their fundraising efforts for bragging rights.

LALSA members felt it was important to use their platform to support organizations on the ground working to meet the needs of those affected by Fiona.

The Brianna Ramos graduate, also a Cornell law student and fundraiser organizer, spoke about her personal connection to the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico.

“We wanted to support community organizations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic who are working to provide assistance to those affected by the hurricanes,” Ramos said. “I have family in Puerto Rico who have been impacted by this hurricane and past ones, including Maria, where long-term power outages have impacted access to medical care as well as the ability to go to school and cook meals.”

LALSA strives to create a community for Latinx law students and to celebrate their heritage with the legal community at large. They provide academic and professional resources to their members and organize social events to encourage members to celebrate their heritage and meet others from similar backgrounds.

“I am the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and now attend law school, and being part of this organization has allowed me to bond with upper-class students who have supported me throughout. about my freshman year and my job search process,” Ramos said. “I’m also lucky to have met some of my best friends through this group, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done to support our members and the Latinx community.”


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