The devastating effects of Hurricane Maria are still heavily felt in Puerto Rico, but in efforts to help ease the tragic aftermath, St. Louis based comic book publisher Lion Forge will donate proceeds from its anthology, Puerto Rico Strong. The new project is written and illustrated by Puerto Rican and other Latino writers and artists, The Washington Post reports.
The earnings made from the books will go to United Way of Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization that supports healthcare and education initiatives. Lion Forge will combine the first $25,000 made with Diamond Comic Distributors, that’ll also donate five percent of its retail proceeds to United Way of Puerto Rico.
In addition to helping those in crisis, Puerto Rico Strong will also serve as a much-needed history lesson on the island’s extensive background of economic issues and battle with colonization. It’s a story that’s often untold or taught through an Anglo-Saxon privileged lens.
Lion Forge’s editorial assistant, Desiree Rodriguez, explained the cultural importance of the anthology. “There’s so little history taught about Puerto Rico,” she said. “One of the things I noticed when the hurricane news was at its peak, was that a lot of people didn’t know about the Jones Act. They didn’t know about the economic struggles that [Puerto Rico] has continuously gone through and the history behind that.
One of the goals was to teach people…That way, people could read this…and can learn about the island through actual Puerto Ricans,” she continued. “Because history is so often told from the privileged point of view.”
According to The Post, Rodriguez has a database of writers from diverse backgrounds to contribute to the project. Still, it’s worth noting that the publishing industry was elated as a whole to back the project, which speaks volumes of its necessity.
“When we blew the horn, so many people wanted to answer the call from different walks of life, no matter what their forte was, whether it was comics or Webcomics,” Neil Schwartz, one of the anthology’s editors said. “What we put together is amazing and that diversity is really what speaks to why this project works so well and why it’s important to all of us, because we all felt that passion for Puerto Rico.”