NPR’s Latino USA and Rest for Resistance by: QTPoC Mental Health have published my latest, “The Puerto Rican Diaspora is Flooded,” on their online platforms. QTPoC Mental Health empowers the community through knowledge and compassion, with the ultimate goals of creating online & offline spaces for LGBTQ2IA people of color to be comfortably, unapologetically their whole selves. The volunteer-led group uplifts QTPoC in their intersecting identities, understanding that this means different things to different people. In the NYC area? Join them at peer-led QTPoC meditations, held monthly at Brooklyn Community Pride Center.
Rest for Resistance not only paid me for this post but also connected my words to an incredible genderfuild Taíno artist, Celeste Franco. Celeste is a 22-year-old Queer Genderfluid Philly artist, raised in a proud Boricua household. Their family is Taíno from Lares, and Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Their art sprouts from their roots and finds life in my suppressed emotions – they are abrasive, just like Celeste.
“The Puerto Rican Diaspora is Flooded,” on NPR’s Latino USA broke the record for most Facebook shares of any commentary. I was genuinely surprised by this, not because I lacked doubt in my words but for the struggle to find an audience that is not centered in one geographic location. I wrote it as a love letter to the diaspora and from a place where my heartache balanced my analysis, a medium that I have work hard at.
Notes on the Hurricane Maria: On September 21, 2017 Hurricaine Maria, a Category 4 with 155-mph winds made landfall in Puerto Rico destroying homes and vital infrastructure on the island. Family members in the United States and across the world organized online to relay updates and locate loved ones admist one of the worst natural and manmade disasters in the history of Puerto Rico.
At the moment, the government has reported 36 deaths but journalists and citizens have reported up to 300 deaths. Many Puerto Ricans remain without running water, electricty, access to internet or proper medical care. The delayed response from the US government has contributed to a humantarian crisis.
In the United States, we must fight for Puerto Rico. Since early colonization, the United States has oppressed the people of Puerto Rico through a variety of federal actions. Policies like the Foraker Act, the Jones Act, Operation Bootstrap, pill trials, la operacion, military use in Vieques and other government policies all paved the way for the financial, environmental, medical, and political exploitation and deterioration of Puerto Rico.
Only Congress can repeal the Jones Act, dismantle the PROMESA board that takes away our self-governance, cancel the debt, and help Puerto Ricans across the US as well as those on the Island. On citizens who have can vote for the President and write to their local Congressmen can put pressure on the government. It is a moment to gather so we may have the strength to act from the Puerto Rican diaspora and in our communities where issues that are effecting Puerto Ricans may also be effecting your own communities.