Mi María Children’s book to be published

Concept art by Olga Barinova.

As part of the Mi María project, Yarelis Marcial Acevedo and Ricia Anne Chansky wrote a children’s book, Maxy Survives the Hurricane/Maxy sobrevive el huracán, which was translated into Spanish by Francheska Morales Garcia and Sharon Marie Nieves Ferrer. The book will be published in a bilingual edition by Arte Público Press’s children’s imprint, Piñata Books.


L-R: Yarelis Marcial Acevedo, Brenda Y. Flores Santiago, Ricia Anne Chansky, Bryan Ramos Romero, Jocelyn Geliga Vargas, Zaira Arvelo Alicea, Kiara Velez Velez, Kiara Rivera Santiago, and Astrid Zapata de Jesus.

In recognition of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane María, an article about the “Mi María” project was featured on the cover of Primera Hora. You can read the article here.


L-R: Brenda Y. Flores Santiago, Bryan Ramos Romero, & Kiara Rivera Santiago.

Students from the Mi María project were interviewed for the Voice of Witness Podcast in recognition of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane María. Listen to the podcast here.

Mi María Narrator Speaks at VOW Anniversary Event

Zaira Arvelo Alicea represents the Mi María project in Los Angeles.

Zaira Arvelo Alicea, one of the narrators whose story was recorded by the Mi María project, was invited to present her story at the Voice of Witness ten year anniversary event in Los Angeles, “Brave Stories, Bold Movements.” She shared the program with Isabel Allende and others who spoke up for social justice.

Mi María contributes to prize-winning student project

“What happened to Puerto Rico was a preventable tragedy that was mired in discriminatory policy over decades of inaction and neglect.”

A group of students from Brown University have won third place in the annual Columbia University Environmental Policy Competition, sponsored by the Columbia Economics Review, an undergraduate journal. Until they met teammate Estrella Rodriguez of Bayamón, students participating in the competition had little understanding of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, especially after Hurricane María. Dana Kurniawan, Madison Hough, Olivia McClain, and Rodriguez met Mi María project director, Ricia Anne Chansky, at the annual Brown University Hack for Humanity in 2019, which was dedicated to Hurricane María. The team interviewed Chansky and referred to findings of the Mi María project in their entry. They were particularly impacted by what they learned about the power of storytelling as an instrument for research in many fields, as Chansky stated that oral history and other biographical research methodologies are exceptional tools for research that are not often integrated into disaster response. They learned that while the hurricane itself was a natural occurrence, the disaster was heightened by the lack of human and institutional response. In light of this research, their prize-winning project focused on the development of solar microgrids that would be developed and maintained on a neighborhood-level independent of large-scale government initiatives.

Mi María on the Radio

L-R: Dr. Jocelyn Géliga Vargas, Brenda Y. Flores Santiago, Julio Victor Ramirez, Kiara M. Rivera Santiago, & Bryan Ramos Romero at the Radio Isla del Oeste studio in Mayagüez.

During the months of June and July a group of project members were invited to two different radio stations to talk about Mi María: Puerto Rico after the Hurricane. On June 12, 2019, undergraduate student, Brenda Y. Flores Santiago, had a fifteen-minute interview at Radio Isla (WSKN 1320 AM) in San Juan. Radio host, Damaris Suarez, asked Flores Santiago to provide listeners with an introduction of the two parts of the Mi María project: collaboration with the nonprofit organization Voice Of Witness (VOW) on a book and partnership with the Humanities Action Lab (HAL) on a mobile exhibition that’s going to travel through Puerto Rico and the United States. Flores Santiago also shared the various ways in which the public can follow along with the progress of the project—social media platforms and the official website—and encouraged the audience to become involved in the project.

On July 8, Radio Isla del Oeste (WKJB 710 AM), located in Mayagüez, interviewed Flores Santiago with fellow students, Bryan Ramos Romero and Kiara M. Rivera Santiago, alongside Dr. Jocelyn Géliga Vargas—all from the Department of English. Hosted by broadcaster, Julio Victor Ramirez, project participants took part in an in-depth conversation that lasted for two hours. Each member of the project highlighted the role they have taken on as active members of the project, insights on the collected narratives, the work each student has done for the exhibition portion of the project, highlights from the project, and reflections on what the work means to them.