Mitigating Disaster in Digital Space: DiaspoRicans Organizing after Hurricane Maria
March 2020 (VOL. 38, NO. 1)
As Puerto Ricans lived facing increasing precarity after Hurricane Maria, DiaspoRicans (Puerto Ricans living outside of Puerto Rico) rushed to get aid to their relatives. A lack of trust in the local government and Congress’ refusal to lift the 1920 Merchant Marines Act limited direct international aid. This fueled narratives of genocide intersecting with relief efforts. In this article, I use digital ethnography and ethnographic interviews to discuss how and why DiaspoRicans engaged in grassroots recovery efforts through social media. I conclude with discussing the challenges of digital organizing faced by community organizers in Puerto Rico in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane and the potential contributions of digital research as catastrophic weather events increase.