CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of people from around the country, including many from Chicago, converged on Washington, D.C. Sunday for a Unity March in support of disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

165 Thousands Converge On D.C. For Puerto Rico Unity March

Two months after Hurricane Maria swept across the island, dire conditions remain. (Photo: Juan Calderon)

The Unity March purposely coincided with “Discovery of Puerto Rico Day,” a national holiday that marks the day Columbus discovered the island.

Thousands rallying outside the White House called on Congress to do away with the Jones Act, something they say has inflated prices on the island. While President Donald Trump temporarily waived it to help Puerto Rico recover, many protesters want it gone for good.

Richard Santiago, for example, arrived in Chicago two weeks ago, but was forced to leave his family in another state as he searched for work. “Right now, I realize, that even I’m going through some type of trauma, because when I talk about this subject, I get a little emotional.”

156 Thousands Converge On D.C. For Puerto Rico Unity March

To mark the holiday, thousands traveled to Washington, D.C. for a rally. (Photo: Juan Calderon)

Representatives from the Puerto Rico Cultural Center in Chicago attended the event in the nation’s capitol. The center is, among other things, providing free daycare to Maria refugees who have fled to the city.

Among those speaking Sunday was Congressman Luis Gutierrez. “I’ve been there three times since the hurricane, and each time, it breaks my heart. But I do it because I want to take the food, I want to take the water,” he said.

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