In an op-ed for The New York Times published Monday (March 28), Lin-Manuel Miranda urges the United States to “give Puerto Rico its chance to thrive.” In asking Congress to help the island’s economic crisis, the Hamilton creator and star, who is of Puerto Rican descent, cited Alexander Hamilton’s letter from 1772 about the island of St. Croix.
“I’m invoking Hamilton’s words today, in this plea for relief for Puerto Rico,” he writes. “I am the son of Puerto Rican parents. What can I say to persuade elected officials and policy makers to act? What influence do I have to change the minds and hearts of those in Congress to put aside their differences and deal with the crisis confronting 3.5 million American citizens in the Caribbean? I’m not a politician or an economist. I’m a storyteller.”
He goes on to reminisce on childhood memories of when he visited Puerto Rico, a country that has lost 9 percent of its population in the last decade. “If a ship is sinking, you don’t ask, ‘Well, what type of ship is it and what type of ship should it be?’ You rescue the people aboard. … I write about Puerto Rico today just as Hamilton wrote about St. Croix in his time. Congress, please don’t play politics with the lives of 3.5 million Americans. Succor the miserable and lay up a treasure in Heaven. We are counting on you.”
Click here for the complete letter, titled “Give Puerto Rico Its Chance to Thrive.”
This isn’t the first time Miranda has talked about the financial and humanitarian crisis the U.S. territory is facing. After performing Hamilton at the White House a few weeks ago, he spoke at a press conference in Washington, D.C., to ask lawmakers to help get Puerto Rico out of the hole it’s in. “It is a solvable, fixable crisis, and what we really need is help.”