DOWNTOWN — One woman's joke Facebook event about throwing paper towels at Trump Tower is now a serious fundraiser for Puerto Rico.
More than 2,000 people said on Facebook they're going to the aptly titled "Throw Paper Towels At Trump Tower" event Nov. 2 at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave. Another 18,000 people posted that they're interested.
The demonstration started as a joke posted online by Adriana Miranda, a 21-year-old student, as she passed President Donald Trump's namesake tower on the Chicago River.
But the event has serious roots in the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which has killed at least 36 Puerto Ricans and left thousands more homeless since hitting the island Sept. 20.
Miranda said she was insulted by Trump's response to the disaster, which included joking about the hurricane's effect on the national budget and tossing out paper towels to hurricane victims like candy at a parade.
Miranda said two of her relatives in Puerto Rico have lost their homes in the wake of the storm.
"I don’t think he can grasp that situation with how his life has been, and he doesn’t see Puerto Rico as part of the U.S.," said Miranda, who lives in Wicker Park. "As much as he claims to love America, he’s choosing which parts to care about. It's clear through his behavior."
Now Miranda hopes people who show up at the event will give to Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, a grassroots organization that pledges to give all proceeds to Puerto Rican disaster relief.
Like those organizers, Miranda had no idea her online joke would draw so much attention. Now, she's hoping to make the most of it, even though she said she's not planning on throwing any towels at the tower herself.
"But I'm not anyone's parents," she said.