Inspired by the muse of his play's own 1772 letter to a post-hurricane St. Croix, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote an open letter to Congress about his familial home of Puerto Rico for the New York Times published Monday. In the letter, Miranda asked the United States government to drop the stigma and help the "financial and humanitarian crisis that is happening right now."
"Please let us not get bogged down in Puerto Rico's status," he wrote. "If a ship is sinking, you don't ask, 'Well, what type of ship is it and what type of ship should it be?' You rescue the people aboard."
Miranda wrote details of Puerto Rico's current socioeconomic landscape: closed schools and hospitals, which means a decline in education and healthcare. He also talked about how the stores he remembers are forced to close. The United States territory is $72 billion in debt, he cited.
If Puerto Rico were an American city or state, the government would've already come to its aid. But there's no viable system in place since it's a territory, he said. This issue, he argued, transcends political parties. "This is an American issue," he wrote.
Miranda believes that Congress should grant Puerto Rico the "ability to restructure its debt," or else Puerto Rico may face default.
The cause is near and dear to the performer's heart. Miranda's family hails from the small town of Vega Alta, where they owned many commercial spaces.
"Much has been said about the dire economic situation pressing down on Puerto Rico," he wrote. "I am the son of Puerto Rican parents. What can I say to persuade elected officials and policymakers to act?"
"I'm not a politician or an economist," he said. "I'm a storyteller."