Sassy Lips Donates To Hurricane Maria Victims In Puerto Rico, And This Island Girl Couldn’t Be More Thankful!
When my son was a baby, I would sing “En Mi Viejo San Juan” to him as I was rocking him to sleep. Melodically, it’s a sweet and soothing tune, so it lulled my then-infant child right to sleep, but the lyrics are actually heartbreaking, full of nostalgia and longing. In the song, a man wistfully sings of the island he left behind, of the dreams he clung to as a child and the beautiful memories he created, of the circumstances that drew him away from La Isla del Encanto. Throughout the song, he vows to return to San Juan, only to find the years passing him by and his journey home being deferred time and time again. It’s a song filled with melancholy but, also, with a deep and relentless love of country. And, lately, it’s been playing in my head on repeat but, unlike a Katy Perry song that’s constantly on the radio, I don’t want to get this song out of my head.
See, as some of you know, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I lived in Guaynabo, to be precise, for most of my childhood and, in my teen years, I lived in San Juan. Because of the island’s economic struggles, I wound up staying in the continental US following college, moving to New York City and, later, to Austin, Texas. My family, however, remains largely in Puerto Rico: my dad, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and their children…. It is and will always be home to me. It’s hard to live far away from the family you love so dearly and, yes, there have been countless times when my husband and I contemplated moving back to the island but, after mulling the idea over, realized it was untenable. Perhaps that’s why “En Mi Viejo San Juan” has resonated so strongly with me over the years — it’s that longing for home and that sadness over being unable to return to it. Yes, there have been visits, but time always feels so limited.
Now, however, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, I wonder if I’ll ever truly be able to return to the home that I once loved. The cities and towns I lived in or visited as a child are now practically unrecognizable. Much of the island looks like a war zone: houses literally flattened, roofs blown off of residences and businesses, power and phone lines toppled over, mudslides and fallen trees wrecking entire roads, hip-high sewage water filling neighborhoods, trees pulled out from their roots and laying across streets and highways, dead horses and cows laying in fields, garbage and debris strewn everywhere, “SOS” messages scrawled on rooftops and roads for nearby helicopters or airplanes to spot…. The photos reduce me to tears, and they just keep coming. El Yunque, the island’s famed rainforest, now looks like something out of an apocalyptic film, the lush green colors an ominous brown.
If the images are harrowing, the stories are even more distressing. Almost two weeks after the storm, many people have yet to receive any aid in the form of food or drinking water. The entire island, save for a small section of San Juan, remains without electricity. Cell phone reception is similarly limited. Many hospitals remain shuttered due a shortage of the diesel necessary to power generators, and basic medical supplies are needed. Patients in need of insulin and dialysis treatments are clinging to their lives. Neighbors are pooling the few bits of food they have left so that they can have enough to eat one meal a day consisting of rice or canned sausages.
The worst part: the Trump administration has ignored the 3.8 million people living in Puerto Rico. Consider this: seven days after Hurricane Katrina, FEMA had sent 25 million meal kits, 31 million liters of water and more than 2,700 workers to New Orleans; nine days after Hurricane Maria, meanwhile, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands received 4.4 million meal kits, 6.5 million liters of water and about 600 workers, even though it’s a much larger and densely populated area. And today, when Trump finally visited Puerto Rico, he remained in Guaynabo, one of the areas least affected by the hurricane, rather than visiting the ravaged regions of Utuado, Morovis, Jayuya, and Cidra. Moreover, he downplayed the hurricane’s destruction at every turn and complained about the cost of recovery efforts — something he would’ve never had the gall to do when assessing the damage in Texas after Hurricane Harvey or in Florida after Hurricane Irma.
A natural disaster, a humanitarian crisis, has now been politicized, and that’s only hindering efforts to rebuild the island, to save all those lives that remain in peril. Make no mistake about it: this is a catastrophe.
Sadly, Trump and his supporters aren’t alone in turning a blind eye to Puerto Rico. When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010, fashion and beauty companies like TOMS, Havaianas, MAC Cosmetics, Calvin Klein, Bond No. 9, Dannijo, ADAM, and Rachel Roy all rallied together to raise funds for victims. So where are they now?
Thankfully, not everyone has succumbed to apathy. There’s at least one brand that’s stepping up to the plate and providing hope to the entire Puerto Rican diaspora: Sassy Lips. Through October 20th, the brand of playful, cruelty-free, bold lipsticks is donating 30% of all online sales to Global Giving, one of the main organizations dedicated to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
I’m currently swooning over their Make The Moment collection of color-changing jelly lipsticks, all of which are infused with gold flecks and feature a real flower at their center. When you apply each gel-like color to your lips, a unique shade of pink (one that speaks to your unique body chemistry) manifests itself, a testament to your one-of-a-kind personality and style. The lipsticks themselves are such works of art that they’re easy to just stare at and admire, but they’re beyond fun to flaunt on your lips — especially since the warmer your lips get, the deeper the pink shade will appear.
These lipsticks are unlike anything currently out on the market, so tap into your saucy side, visit SassyLips.us, and scoop up a few shades (or a few hundred!). The brand’s commitment to humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico will make each lipstick swipe feel all the more gratifying. After all what’s sassier than a strong-willed, bold-lipped, confident girl determined to make the world a better place any way she can?