My earliest memories are of picking flowers off the hibiscus bushes in our backyard near San Juan, and running my fingers over the delicate red petals and powdery, sticky pollen at the center. I remember watching the wind — like magic — lift a kite into the sky near the centuries-old fortress, El Morro. I remember eating papaya that my grandmother would cut into pieces, douse in lime and sugar, and serve in her best crystal bowl. I remember one-floor stucco houses, places that felt solid and safe, yet open to visitors during the day, and the sound of coqui frogs at night. Puerto Rico — where I spent my earliest years — values its children. But these children are especially vulnerable in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
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Senior Policy Analyst