Alongside our mission to unite, educate, and create solutions for the Puerto Rican people in the United States and Puerto Rico, the National Puerto Rican Agenda has taken up an ambitious agenda on central issues concerning Puerto Ricans in the United States and Puerto Rico.
On July 24, 2016, at the First Constituent Assembly, over 200 people gathered to solidify the direction and work of the newly formed NPRA. As a result, together we established our position on a number of central issues affecting Puerto Ricans. Below is our starting mandate.
Political Participation in United States
NPRA recognizes the urgent need to create a nonpartisan coalition of leading national and regional stateside Puerto Rican civil rights, faith-based, advocacy and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent community leaders to form local and state-wide coalitions to advance our core goal of improving Puerto Rican electoral and political engagement beyond elections, to become active participants in the political process, and to hold governing institutions accountable to the needs and aspirations of our communities.
In this election cycle, our electoral engagement efforts will focus on Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, swing states with a sizeable Puerto Rican population and the greatest potential to impact significantly the upcoming presidential elections. Candidates' endorsement of NPRA's Call to Action on behalf of the stateside Puerto Rican community and Puerto Rico is critical to ensuring our political support.
Policies Affecting Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans
The NPRA calls for the implementation of a plan of action to advocate for the interests of the Puerto Rican people that include: the creation of a specialized policy chapter of the NPRA in Washington, D.C that will serve as an advocacy watchdog to PROMESA and other legislation that may have direct effects on Puerto Ricans. The chapter would be representing the NPRA members on policy matters in the capitol and coordination with other NPRA members' educational and action campaigns to activate all members of our network on relevant and urgent policy issues.
The NPRA will work with elected officials, educational advocates, communities and school districts to implement a community empowerment strategy for strengthening the educational pipeline from pre-K through college, one that supports youth's transition to adulthood, college completion and pathways to economic opportunity.
The community empowerment strategy will also create, strengthen and expand pathway programs providing school-to-work transition programs for Puerto Rican youth 16 to 24 years of age who are not at school or work by demanding national programs such as Job Corps, YouthBuild, Service and Conservation Corps, and National Guard Youth Challenge to specifically target Puerto Rican youth. NPRA will all work to increase summer jobs program opportunities for out-of-school Puerto Rican youth, target Work Opportunity Tax Credit to Puerto Rican disconnected youth and support state and local programs for youth employment and youth entrepreneurship targeting Puerto Rican youth.
Our Health in the USA
The NPRA recognizes that access to quality, affordable healthcare for all, is a fundamental human right and not a political issue, therefore, NPRA supports the development of public health efforts aimed at the elimination of health disparities in Puerto Rican communities and families, thus creating health equity for all marginalized individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, social status, sexual orientation, immigration or economic status.
Our Health in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is experiencing a humanitarian crisis in healthcare due to severe underfunding. In addition any long term solution to Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis must include equitable treatment in Medicaid, Medicare and other health care laws, namely parity. NPRA will engage in efforts to educate United States Congress and the public to ensure that there is an understanding of the need for immediate action before the upcoming Medicaid cliff in 2017.
The Federal and the Puerto Rican government should support the production of energy in Puerto Rico through renewable energy such as solar which would be better for the environment, less costly and help Puerto Rico in relieving the economic crisis.
The Political Status of Puerto Rico
The NPRA will campaign to mobilize Congressional and Presidential action for decolonization of the territorial status of Puerto Rico. The process should be binding to Puerto Rico and Congress, with clearly specified political options sanctioned by Congress and enacted as part of a referendum law or by Constituent Assembly including citizenship, parity in federal programs, and other core elements of the political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.
Oscar Lopez Rivera
At seventy three years of age, after more than three decades in federal prison, having never been accused or found guilty of causing harm to or the death of anyone, Oscar Lopez Rivera has been set to be released in Spring of 2017. NPRA participants thank former President Barack Obama for pardoning Oscar Lopez Rivera.
Racism in America
NPRA shall support multi-racial and intersectional coalitions to eliminate the vestiges of and discrimination in the United States, especially overt racist acts in the form of hate crimes, racial appeals in voting, and other forms of racial pandering, including structural and institutional racism that exacerbates historical measures of marginalization, with or without overt racist motivation or implicit bias. Puerto Ricans must continue to use the human rights lens to assert our right to fair treatment, regardless of the governments that control the public spheres in which we live.
Preserving and Celebrating the Puerto Rican History & Culture
NPRA affirms the urgent need to collectively take ownership for preserving culture and cultural organizations dedicated to maintaining our traditions and heritage, in Puerto Rico and on the mainland. Therefore, NPRA will support the development of a national network of Puerto Rican cultural and historical preservation organizations, artists and community leaders to provide a market for our artists and to develop new sources of revenues to support Puerto Rican cultural organizations.
In addition, NPRA will support and develop cultural programs and organizations devoted to preserving Puerto Rican heritage and culture such as parades and festivals, art exhibits, theater and performance arts, poetry, literature and all forms of creative writing, dance and music, among others. We are particularly interested in programs and organizations devoted to the education and engagement of Puerto Rican youth and the development of curricula and other learning vehicles and opportunities specifically aimed at children, teenagers and young adults.
NPRA supports efforts to collect and preserve Puerto Rican documents, works on paper and other forms of art, oral histories, multimedia materials, memorabilia and artifacts, and other evidence of cultural traditions and history.
Puerto Rican History Month
NPRA recognizes November as the month for a national celebration of Puerto Rican heritage. We shall support festivities and other educational events that educate our youth and share Puerto Rican heritage with Latinos and other communities across the country.
SOURCE: 2016 NPRA Constituent Assembly Program