Puerto Rico spoke loud and clear last night, but did anyone listen?

Here's two things you might not know: One, there's a primary in Puerto Rico. Two, Marco Rubio won it. By a lot.

Yep, that's right. Last night, Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico's GOP primary in a landslide.

It's Rubio's first major victory and his second outright victory in the race so far. It earned him 23 delegates and put him marginally closer to potentially someday maybe posing some sort of actual threat to GOP powerhouse Donald Trump and hot-on-his-heels Ted Cruz.


Marco Rubio campaigning in South Carolina. Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images.

Why such a huge win for Rubio in Puerto Rico?

Rubio is the only GOP candidate to visit Puerto Rico so far, as well as the only one to openly support statehood for the U.S. territory.

For Puerto Ricans, this is a significant position to take. The island is over $70 billion in debt and has defaulted on debt payments twice. As Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla told CNN, "We're out of cash."

People protest outside Wall Street in New York against cutbacks and austerity measures forced on severely indebted Puerto Rico. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The tanking economy is causing a mass population exodus from the island to the mainland. Fewer Puerto Rican residents to pay taxes means more debt, and the whole crisis has been ominously referred to as a "death spiral."

If Puerto Rico gains statehood, it will be able to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy with federal protection, meaning the island could restructure its debts, negotiate in court with bondholders, and cover about a third of its debt.

If not, Puerto Rico and its citizens will remain in the economic crisis indefinitely.

Primaries are the only chance citizens of Puerto Rico get to make their voices heard — they aren't allowed to vote in the general election.

A 115-year-old Supreme Court decision (blasted by John Oliver last year) ensures that no U.S. territories are allowed to vote in the general election.

While Republicans in Puerto Rico voted clearly in favor of Rubio, assigning their delegates last night (as they will for the Democrats in June), this is really the only chance Puerto Rican citizens have to let politicians running for president know what's important to them.

A vacant building in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.

Why would Rubio care about Puerto Rico if it can't help him win the general election?

Well, Florida has a population of over 1 million Puerto Ricans. Courting Puerto Rico helps Rubio secure the swing state's 99 delegates.

But frankly, Rubio doesn't have to worry too much about Florida. It's his home state, and pending another meltdown of epic proportions at the GOP debate on Wednesday, his win in Florida is all but clinched.

Rubio campaigning in Florida in 2010. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

It's pretty easy to make campaign promises to a population that doesn't vote in the general election.

Hillary Clinton promised Puerto Rico voting rights in 2008 and got 68% of the Democratic primary vote there. Mitt Romney promised statehood in 2012 and got 83% of the GOP primary vote that year.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño at Isla Grande Airport in San Juan in 2012 ahead of the Republican primary. Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.

We never got to see whether either of their promises would come true, but Puerto Rico has consistently and overwhelmingly supported candidates who promise more representation, regardless of their political affiliation.

In this election cycle, candidates including Hillary Clinton have supported giving Puerto Rico bankruptcy protection, but only Rubio (and, formerly, Jeb! Bush) have campaigned in favor of full representation for Puerto Rico with a 51st star on the flag.

Will the next president be the one who finally recognizes Puerto Rico's primary votes for what they truly mean?

Or will the territory remain a stepping stone for politicians to use on their journey to more "important" political contests? Will 2016 be the year that Puerto Rico is rescued by the U.S. government? Or will our collective memory once again forget about the territory and its citizens until another candidate needs delegates in the next election cycle?

Last night, Puerto Rico was granted five minutes in a room with a nation that has a thousand other things on its to-do list. Its citizens spoke clearly once again — whether they're heard remains to be seen.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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