PUERTO RICAN LIBERATION
Puerto Rican liberation has always been at the root of my work.


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Puerto Rico, the colonial name of this archipelago, has been a colony since the arrival of Columbus on November 19, 1493, and was invaded by the US Navy on July 25th, 1898. Puerto Rico is still a colony of the US.
 

Puerto Rico, its people, all colonized territories (including reservations) across the planet have a natural right to liberation. Statehood is not a decolonial option. To decolonize is to practice the highest expression of self-determination, with the freedom to recapture our original essence and evolve in that essence. Statehood would absorb and eventually dissolve Boricua-ness, our identity and essence.
 

Today we witness the escalation of land grabs across our archipelago, the exploitation of our resources, the destruction of our environment, the deforestation of our coastlines for development—a threat that leaves us more vulnerable to flooding and coastal erosion in these times of climate-change. So-called development has also literally flattened hills in our northern karst region, home to caves and aquifers that are supposedly protected natural resources. These are flattened by machines and trucks to erect foreign shopping centers and other corporate-capitalist ventures. We see the displacement and disfranchisement of Indigenous communities, like the battle faced daily in Hawai’í. We continue to suffer the effects of a deliberate colonial dependence on food imports coupled with US cabotage laws, making our food more expensive than in the US, then combined with a tax higher than any in the states. We continue to battle through telecommunications injustice and the disaster of incessant power outages from our energy supplies privatized and distributed by an outside corporation. Whereas many see this as a healing, restful vacation destination, those living here continue to endure the decline of education, mass school closures, dwindling medical care, less job opportunities, sky-rocketing real estate pricing us out, and more.  
 

My work in this area focused on visibilizing our freedom fighters, deemed subversive and erased from history lessons and the media; revealing this suppressed history; education initiatives through my work with institutions such as Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia and El Museo del Barrio in NYC; independent talks and workshops at community organizations and campuses, and working in the Puerto Rican liberation movement. After two decades working as an artist and activist around Puerto Rican liberation, in 2014 I left New York City where I was born and raised and moved to my parents’ birthplace of Borikén, committing holistically, body, mind, and spirit, to this work. Rematriating Boriken has broadened my perspective on liberation and the pursuit of it. Puerto Rican liberation is the nexus from which I experience all else in this island, this archipelago, this Diaspora, this world, in this lifetime.