(July 17, 2018 – San Antonio, Texas) Today, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, received the endorsement for statehood for Puerto Rico by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during its 109th Annual Convention.
Governor Rosselló —who participated as a guest speaker— expressed that Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States is the unfinished business of American democracy.
“Colonialism is political segregation and it has no place in our country. There is a bill in Congress, HR 6246, introduced by Congresswoman Jennifer González, which would put Puerto Rico in a path to statehood. My petition is for you to call your congressmen or congresswoman and demand this piece of legislation be approved. Puerto Ricans have twice voted for statehood, and this pressing issue cannot wait any longer,” said the governor.
Following Rosselló’s speech, the NAACP passed an emergency resolution supporting the passage of the Puerto Rico Admission Act, House Resolution 6246, in the 115th Congress. This bill calls on Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state of the Union by the year 2021.
According to the resolution, “the Puerto Rican Admission Act in a major step towards realizing the democratic will of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico by setting forth a transition process that would result in the formal admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States, on an equal footing and in true permanent union with the other states in all respects, effective no later than January 1st, 2021.”
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
In his message, Rosselló highlighted that “there is an injustice that damages, hurts, the United States of America. Over four million U.S. citizens in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are governed without their consent.”
He also added that “as colonial territories of this country, we cannot vote for our president and we have no voting representation in the United States Congress. The Constitution defines us as mere ‘possessions’ of Congress which can be disposed of.”
The convention’s theme, Defeat Hate – Vote, calls on citizens to overcome implicit bias, racial prejudice, and intolerance by electing officials that will uphold the dignity of United States democracy.
During his speech, Rosselló praised the courage and vision of José Celso Barbosa, a black Puerto Rican and the father of the statehood movement.
The governor stated that Celso Barbosa understood American society was not immune to racism; however, his experience in the United States showed him a country where ‘all men are created equal.’
The NAACP Annual Conference consists of a series of seminars, committee meetings, workshops, exhibits, and panel discussions by the organization’s leadership; civil rights and faith leaders; as well as media, youth, and political influencers.
The NAACP Annual Convention takes place July 14-18 in San Antonio, Texas and brings together activists, artists, and entertainers, as well as civil rights and social justice leaders.