Last week, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley signed on as a co-sponsor of the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, historic legislation led by Congresswomen Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) that would formally call for a Status Convention where delegates, elected by the people of Puerto Rico, would develop a long-term solution that would free the Island of its current status as a U.S. territory.
Congresswoman Pressley’s decision to co-sponsor the legislation follows a virtual meeting she convened last month with Massachusetts advocates and researchers who have close ties to Puerto Rico, including organizers who have long been working in support of those on the Island and the Puerto Rican diaspora in Massachusetts. The advocates shared their support for the legislation as it will allow for a transparent and democratic process created by and for Puerto Rican people to determine their future as an island.
“For far too long, Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory has served as a roadblock to the Island’s progress, inflicting over a century of hurt and harm on the Island’s residents and depriving them of their fundamental right to determine their own future,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, bold legislation that would affirm the dignity and humanity of the Puerto Rican people by establishing a fair, transparent and inclusive process to determine a long-term solution to the Island’s political status. We must finally end the subjugation of Puerto Rico—and I am grateful to Congresswomen Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez for their bold leadership in this effort.”
The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, introduced by Congresswomen Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez in August, would prompt Puerto Rico’s Legislature to create a Status Convention whose delegates would be elected by Puerto Rican voters. This body would develop a long-term solution for Puerto Rico’s status, be that statehood, independence, free association or any option other than the current territorial arrangement. What the convention negotiates and puts forth would then be voted on in a referendum by the people of Puerto Rico before presentation to the U.S. Congress.