2020 Earthquakes & Updates from the Oldest Colony in the World
On January 7, 2020, a 6.6 Earthquake shook and damaged parts of my home in the Northwest and destroyed many homes in the South, which is where my family has been since before the Spain arrived to colonize Boriké. I was awake 3:30AM, like many who experienced stomach pains and dreams the days prior. My cousins cat ran to the mountains 3 days before the Earthquake and returned the day after.
America’s colonial presence in Puerto Rico is still very new, and before this time Native Tainos and Boricuas were perfectly capable of building homes and farming with the cycles of natural disasters which are a part of our cultural fabric and respected versus feared. Government organizations such as FEMA are now tasked with determining what is livable when in actuality the aid they withheld from the government after Hurricane Maria causing thousands of deaths. While it was difficult to comprehend solid matter acting as a wave, the island wide blackout was the most intense experience. I was reminded of how fragile the infrastructure is but not the people.
I came to Boriké to heal, live, and build a consulting practice and life rooted in self-determination. On United States Census, we are forced to only choose two races (Black or White) if we identify of Hispanic, which erases our identities. We are surviving an on-going genocide. I am proud to be Taina Afro-Latinx and the Caribbean is one of the few places in the world where this is understood, embraced, and cultivated as a means of liberation and joy.
Before leaving for Boriké, I worked 4-6 jobs as once, as many immigrants and migrants do, still not making enough to live and pay Student Loans. As a freelancer, I keep this page open all year round. There are no sick days for me. It is also an open invitation to give while we build. Boriké (Puerto Rico) was invaded by the United States in 1898 via ships that arrived in Guanica which is where the Earthquake’s epicenter was. The profundity is not lost on Boricuas who are individually and collectively processing on la isla and all over the world.
As of late, colonialism has regenerated as disaster capitalism. As a Boricua who works in service of individual and collective healing, while also managing a small business, I welcome the support that will go towards:
- Urgent need: A new car – my beLOVED 1999 Jeep Cherokee has died!
- Gas, food & water supply
- Tsunami prep // emergency fund
- Solar panels
- Herbs & materials to make medicine for community (for example, I make a lot of Ylang Ylang Oil which is helpful for grief and shock)
A little help can go a long way.
You donate via Paypal or Venmo: @cassandra-fradera. I am asking for personal donations, as companies such as GoFundMe are not allowed in Puerto Rico.
Photo: Artistic intervention on International Women’s Day / “They Rob & Kill us.”
We are very much still alive and well!