Justice Sonia Sotomayor Asks for Prayers as Many Worry About Families in Puerto Rico After Maria

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks during a questions and answer forum with journalist Maria Hinojosa (not pictured) at the Museo del Barrio in New York, January 19, 2013. |

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor publicly asked for prayers for her family in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico Thursday after revealing that she hasn't heard from half of them since Hurricane Maria left the entire country without power and at least 10 people dead as of Friday morning.

"As you know, the island is suffering a great tragedy right now," Sotomayor said at a conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday according to the Daily Mail.

"I have not heard from half my family yet. And so myself, personally, and the rest of my family, here in the states, are exceedingly concerned," Sotomayor who was born in the Bronx, New York, but whose parents were born in Puerto Rico continued. "We ask for your prayers."

Sotomayor, who was the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Supreme Court bench and the third woman overall, also asked for prayers for other islands, Texas and Florida that have been recently hit by hurricanes.

Like Sotomayor whose parents were born in Puerto Rico and still has family on the island, popular singer and actress Jennifer Lopez also pleaded for support for the U.S. territory in the wee hours of Friday on Instagram.

"What's on my mind is what's going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief," Lopez said. "Me and my cousin still haven't been able to hear from our families over there.

"What's foremost on my mind and many others is trying to figure out the best way to help," she continued. "Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Areizaga. Together we can help rebuild our island, and the Caribbean."

Puerto Rico
Damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. |

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, told The Washington Post that she has not been able to reach five of her brothers and sisters. All of them live in Yabucoa, not very far from where Hurricane Maria made landfall. Velázquez said the home of a sister who lives near San Juan was destroyed by flooding.

Her office, she said, has also been flooded with phone calls from worried Puerto Ricans on the mainland who have heard nothing from relatives either.

"We're just getting so many phone calls," she said. "People are desperate because they don't know. They don't know the whereabouts. They don't know if they are fine — and it's terrible."

Velázquez took off for Puerto Rico with New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a team of state emergency management officials Friday morning.

Cuomo said they were visiting the island of 3 million U.S. citizens at the request of Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, as the country faces months without running water and electricity.

"He didn't have to ask because in New York we are family with the Puerto Rican community and with family you don't have to ask for help," Cuomo said.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted encouraging words to the island's governor: "Governor @RicardoRossello- We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe! #PRStrong."

He then promised to visit the territory at the start of a meeting at the United Nations, Politico reported Thursday.

"Puerto Rico is in very, very tough shape. Their electrical grid is destroyed. It wasn't in good shape to start off with, but their electrical grid is totally destroyed, and so many other things," he said.

"All you have to do is read or turn on the television and you'll see a place that was practically leveled. It's incredible, the power of that wind," he added. "That was a very unique — not for many decades has a storm hit a piece of land like that."

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he was working with the Puerto Rican governor to get help to the island.

"Working with office of @ricardorossello to send in medical support & power restoration assistance to #PuertoRico as soon as possible," he said.

"Several #Florida companies have generously donated generators as well to power critical infrastructure in #PuertoRico. Many people, companies and groups [are] ready to help. But we need to set up a reliable way to deliver donations to those in need on island," he added.

He further noted that the White House assured him that President Trump would visit the island "very soon."

"Spoke to @WhiteHouse yesterday. @Potus coming to #PuertoRico very soon. You will NOT be forgotten. We will rebuild better than ever!" he wrote.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In U.S.