…..Well that encuentro has been taking place for decades, so nothing new. What would be exciting (not new, but could be done differently) is building a strong exiled homeland- a Boricuascape.
Posts tagged community
[The]…Boricuas in the states and… on the island should be looking to work closer together to form a powerful Homeland on the island and a powerful community here wherever we find ourselves in. Its time we have our Encuentro Boricua.
Who has the authority to speak for our communities, for the Boricua people? Are we constantly searching for a leader(s) to proclaim themselves the Messiah or can we take it upon ourselves to create an organic leadership who know our hardships and felt our tears?
It’s always difficult to insert into a conversation the interconnectedness of personal agency and structural limitations. I was speaking today with a college professor doing a literary project on a particular gang-related murder in the ‘hood and the question that struck me the most was “didn’t these young men have a choice to murder an innocent person?” Yes, they absolutely did. However, what’s also a significant piece of the conversation is what did or didn’t this society do for that to happen; what exactly set the stage for violence and murder?
Oftentimes such a follow-up question is read as legitimizing such actions. Nope, it’s far too easy to saturate the discourse with this idea that there are bad people (of color), bad neighborhoods (of color), and bad choices (by folks of color out of ignorance or an inherent savagery). Let’s ALSO talk about inequities in education, health, income, housing; a history of colonialism, racism, patriarchy, and displacement. Lets talk about internalized hatred, building and supporting productive, healthy alternatives; and restructuring the prison industrial complex. If we continue to blame people and individual choices and ignore structural limitations instead of focusing on how we could make better communities for all of us unfortunately violence will continue to be a staple in many people’s lives. In other words, the stigmatization and criminalization of our youth of color, our Boricua youth will only beget more violence.
Our existence, on Earth, is obscured. We are deemed a throw-away people, cultural pollutants, who were never suppose to return, never to witness the island of our forebearers. “Tú no eres Boricua” can be the most spiteful slander an islander can bestow upon us, not so much because of an innate insecurity, but the acknowledgment of our difference.
A poem for Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera
“The National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN), Batey Urbano and Latin@ Coalition [commenced] “31 Days for 31 Years” in which 31 activists and community residents [are spending] 24 hours each in a makeshift storefront cell with guard, for a total of 31 days. The exhibit, which started April 29th, also features an exhibition of Oscar’s artwork… as well as literature and posters from the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoners for the past 30 years and a wall of Oscar’s letters to his supporters. [There is also] a station where people may write to Oscar, in the Batey Urbano, located at 2620 West Division St. Chicago, IL 60622. Batey Urbano is in the heart of ‘Paseo Boricua’ in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.”
In the 1970’s and ’80s there were more Puerto Rican Studies Departments at universities nationwide than there are now, but the population of Boricuas in the U.S. have increased by the millions. We need spaces in academia that analyze, speak to, and validate the complexities of our people. This will also make it more possible to challenge the Ivory Tower in its consistent criminalization, exotization, and ghettoization of our communities. Our enclaves are the true loci of knowledge.
Uptown in Spanish Harlem, the FB Lounge, a Puerto Rican restaurant and bar decorated with Taíno Indian symbols that offered live Latin music, has been renamed after a rock ’n’ roll tune.
Reinvented? Gentrification displaced beloved Boricua community establishments and is now “reinventing” them into sterile, SoHo-esque placeholders. A tapas bar in the barrio? Smfh!
“As we traveled through locations with street signs marking “Avenue of Puerto Rico” and “Borinquen Place,” we soon realized that the eroding murals depicting urban jíbaros and palm trees spoke to a Golden Age long dislodged from reality. With the exception of a few cars blasting reggaeton and rows of housing projects that reflect our state-sponsored ghettoization, this side of Brooklyn was visibly absent of a once bustling Puerto Rican enclave. Although the street was teeming with young, white “hipsters” visiting store-front art galleries, it was as if we were metaphysically stranded in a desert. The life we were seeking did not exist but in our memories, so nothing around us stimulated our senses. We longed for a place we could call home.”
Boricuascape by Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos
The one thing we need is good restaurants [in the South Bronx].