In the face of federal government cutbacks and neglect, residents of Puerto Rico are relying on their own resilience to rebuild following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. Vogue magazine highlighted the women spearheading this recovery in a new article and photo spread, published on International Women’s Day yesterday (March 8).
In the days and weeks and months after Hurricane Maria, the women of Puerto Rico have waded into flooded neighborhoods to extricate the abandoned, and put together soup kitchens to feed the hungry. They’ve canvassed their communities in order to diagnose the most critical needs—street by street, mountain by mountain, house by house, family by family—and have returned when they said they would with supplies and support. They’ve laughed and cried, listened, and hugged the people in their communities: the old, the sick, the disabled, the lonely, the rich, the poor. Many of them are the poor. The women of Puerto Rico have spoken up about subpar leadership and have challenged the inequalities, the broken systems, and have even called out an ignorant, out-of-touch president live on television (as well as firing back at him on Twitter). By empowering themselves—and each other—the women of Puerto Rico have empowered the entire island. Today we are launching a portfolio dedicated to #AmericanWomen who have changed the narrative: arisen one morning and made a significant change in their lives or the lives of others. Captured by a dozen of our favorite photographers and directors, it is an exploration of the meaning of “transformation” in every sense, from the superficial to the profound. Tap the link in our bio to read more. Photographed by @richard_mosse
“The women of Puerto Rico have spoken up about subpar leadership and have challenged the inequalities, the broken systems, and have even called out an ignorant, out-of-touch president live on television (as well as firing back at him on Twitter),” journalist Mariel Cruz wrote. “By empowering themselves—and each other—the women of Puerto Rico have empowered the entire island.”
The photos and profiles feature Puerto Rican women working across the political, environmental and legal sectors to bring relief and justice to their fellow commonwealth citizens. Those celebrated include Karina Zúñiga, a leader of environmental restoration organization Siempre Verde PR; San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz; and lawyer Ariadna Godreau-Aubert, who offers free legal services to impacted residents facing evictions.
Richard Mosse photographed the women with infrared film, which rendered the subjects and surrounding Puerto Rican nature in resplendent hues of red and orange.