Chicago mobilizes to help hurricane, quake victims

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CHICAGO -- As Puerto Ricans in Chicago anxiously await news from their families back home, the city’s Puerto Rican community in mobilizing to get help to those hurricane victims who need it first and most.

It’s a major undertaking, and organizers are getting help from U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who hosts a community meeting today at the Urban Theater in Humboldt Park.

Meantime, the neighborhood waits on pins and needles for news on the fate of loved ones in Hurricane Maria’s wake.

Humboldt Park resident Jasmine Medina told WGN, “It’s really hard. My mom has been really bad. She’s really sad; that’s her house, and my family, we can’t hear from anybody. They say on the news, it may be weeks before we hear from anybody. I hope that’s not true.”

But much of the community is bracing for the possibility of a long and frustrating wait; and many say the waiting and not knowing is excruciating.

Some plan to travel to Puerto Rico as soon as possible. Amid the worry, local activists are planning an emergency fundraiser Friday. Money will also be raised tonight at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

In addition, various groups are collecting goods for hurricane relief. All the while, relatives keep trying to call the island, but they’re not getting through – even on an emergency hotline.

On another front, the Puerto Rican and Mexican arts community will soon announce the creation of a joint relief fund; it will assist both the victims of Hurricane Maria and the earthquake near Mexico City.

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