Posts in Dissent
CODA XX | A Sea of Tears and a Revolution Part IV, Vernacular
Battery Park, September 20, 2019

Battery Park, September 20, 2019

Dedicated to artists, asylum seekers all across the globe, and Puerto Rico

Part One: A Sea of Tears and a Revolution here

Part Two: Daughters and Sons here

Part Three: Diaspora here.

Part Four: Vernacular

There is something poetic about Friday, September 20, 2019. Who could have predicted that two years after Hurricane María, a climate strike would take place all over the world with #FridaysforFuture led by Greta Thunberg. Her story, her clarity, and poise are magnificent. Her demands are clear. Her purpose has ignited a youth-led global climate movement that is now unstoppable. What better way to spend the anniversary date than for climate justice? 

The memories of all that has occurred since María are present. I do not think there has been a day since the hurricane I have not thought about the storm. It is always in the front or back of my thoughts. But the strike brought a new hue to the many feelings I have about everything that has occurred since then. For one, Greta is right. Climate change and catastrophes will reshape the course of humanity if we do not act.

In just two years, numerous hurricanes have passed through the Atlantic ravaging areas in the coast and the Caribbean, the most recent one, the cruel Hurricane Dorian. My friend Ned reminds me that the worst part of any hurricane, no matter how bad and that in itself is terrible, is what comes after. An after seems to have no end.

Unfortunately, as we all know the aftermath of storms disproportionately hits poor people and disadvantaged communities the hardest The suffering and the people are real. I met many tears from the aftermath of María. I saw and experienced it in New York City. iThe stories came my way by chance through my place of work, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College. The Hostos became a partner of “The Bronx Coalition Supporting Hurricane Maria Evacuees” alongside numerous other agencies and groups mentioned in Part One. The Coalition led the organizing of a welcome fair to support displaced newly arrived families from Puerto Rico that took place at the College on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Before and after the welcome fair other community events took place at Hostos that brought families together through DiasporaXPuertoRico, UPROSE, and Julio Pabón. The months of April, May, and June were critical months for displaced Puerto Rican families living in hotels under the FEMA program. And a lot of people knew it and advocated for them from the legislative to the grassroots level.

UPROSE/#OurPowerNYCPR held a community meeting at the College in late March or early April of 2018. Marta Moreno Vega and Elizabeth Yeampierre spoke powerfully and in truth. Marta took her the time before speaking and then in pure freedom fighter form she went, “Are you seeing how they’re treating our people? Right now we’re going to listen to this sister, and we are going to help her and the rest. We are a community, and we are not going to let our brothers and sisters fall.” Marta was right. A terrible thing was unfolding right before our eyes. She introduced a young woman who had just been told she had to leave the hotel. For no apparent reason and all of a sudden, she had nowhere else to go. Later I found out this young woman had lost her husband the year before in Puerto Rico to gun violence. She was inconsolable as she stood there telling us of her experience in the big city. Her share and tears brought everyone to tears. And at that moment I saw it, the fiber and fabric of the Puerto Rican history weaving more stories into the web of the blood and tears from both here and there. Another story of the past 100 years, here it was before our very eyes. We understood all to well they were facing discrimination, misinformation, and isolation as they dealt with trauma. By the end of the meeting, a protest would get organized to claim for among other things an extension for Puerto Rican families facing evection from the temporary assistance FEMA program in New York City and across the nation. The protest took place on April 19, 2018, in front of City Hall. 

It was during those gatherings I met displaced families of Hurricane María. I learned of a mother who came to New York with an 11-year old son learning to live with a severe physical disability. Back in Puerto Rico, a stray bullet hit the boy at age nine and left him injured for life. Doctors replaced the wheelchair he received at the time of the accident on December 2018. One young woman arrived with her daughter and her bed-ridden mother, who has Alzheimer's. She lost everything. Another sister came to the city with her bed-ridden mother suffering from dementia and her cognitive disabled brother. Another woman, a single mother of three, lost her home and her job, both wipeout by the storm. They had nowhere to turn and decided to take a chance outside. Another single-mother woman lost her home and was trapped living in it and, in her mountain block blocked off from aid for a while enough, she almost died. She left the island to save her daughter and herself.

Then there was the grandmother figure in Dona Margarita. She fed as many people as she could wherever she lived. She and others cooked on the rogue, on a single burner and made feasts. Unable to get medical attention in rural Puerto Rico after the storm, this older adult left Puerto Rico to care for be a broken arm. She wanted to stay, but it was not meant to be. Then, there was the woman who shared that she and her husband and their two children lost everything-jobs, house, schools. After several months they decided to leave. She was pure jíbara beauty, innocence, and goodness. She went on to say she was waiting on a call for a job at a supermarket and then she asked me, ¿Sol, por dónde empiezo? (Sol, where do I start?).  

From then on, I did not turn my back. From a corner of the Bronx I did as much as I could to help and be of support. I could see how much the people of Puerto Rico had been left unattended. And, not just from hurricane María, but for years, and years, and years. It was painful to see the loneliness, the rude awakening, the miseducation, the vulnerability. This was not something I was reading about in the news. I was seeing and listening in the flesh. We had the same problems. We suffered over the same things, aging parents, troubled family members, and lost dreams. I recognized my country and myself in the women, men, and children I met from Puerto Rico. The ability to speak our Puerto Rican vernacular helped. Right there, we met each other in a place not perceivable to the naked eye, a place of understanding in cadence. From that place, I heard their stories, their histories, loved ones, problems, just making it, barely making it, or not making it at all. I looked them in the eye, saw their pain, anguish, desolation, fear, uncertainty, shame, grief. I ate, watched tv, cried, talked history and context with them; and, I did not hide the truths about what they would be facing in this country. 

Seeing puertorriqueños living in the hotels was very painful, disturbing, and utter destitution. Somehow through that critical transition time and a network of friends and work colleagues, a good crew of displaced families received baby diapers, wipes, and menstrual cycle items. The transition meant choosing to stay in the city and the homeless shelter system or going back to the island with a plane ticket paid by FEMA. The last day to stay or go was June 30, 2018. Different families made different choices, some families stayed, some went back to the island, and others went elsewhere. I met goodness in those hotels, more than my words can describe right at this time. It was not a rosy road, but it was worth it. And I learned that the suffering of the Puerto Rican people is one pain. We simply do not know it at the same time. We got there this summer during the revolution. Here and there and everywhere los puertorriqueños were furious, as we should be, still. But I will end here. This is all I have for the second anniversary of Hurricane María. 

For all the climate refugees unite behind the science.

Sol

NFAND | September
#FridaysforFuture

#FridaysforFuture

Government leaders are failing the world. From nuclear warfare to drone strikes in Yemen to white supremacists gaining power to the Amazon burning to family separation to climate denial, the mighty, rich, and fancy are killing us, the people all across the lands. Seriously, there’s nothing more real than that right now. There’s so much going on it’s hard to pin it all down but, little gestures are happening all around and those gestures are the light in the tunnel.


1 2 3 Andrés has a benefit today to immigrants and families stay together. Crimes against humanity I say is what’s happening at our doorsteps. There is another way and the work of many noble people make that clear. If you can’t attend the benefit, give something, any little amount counts. Link here. Actions for families belong together are happening all over all the time.


Greta Thunberg sailed the Atlantic to make a point. To me, her journey was the grandest gesture. Following Team Malizia has been a life highlight and I’m grateful it happened this year, one of the most painful I’ve experienced. But Greta, in her innocence is mighty strong and she’s trying to make us all understand that the earth is in crisis. We, the people are in danger. Really. She’s asking all of us to join. So join the global strike on September 20. Read here for more information.

Last week some people asked me why I shared the video of “Manta Ray” the song by J. Ralph and Anohni. My response is that, not only is the video a beauty, but “Manta Ray” is the title song for “Racing Extinction,” the documentary, and that’s where we are, at the precipice of something that we are not going to like at all. So the song was added because I thought it matched the intention of Greta’s journey.

What I forgot to include was the lesson plan for #myoceanchallenge (see attachment). Malizia II is also a science lab! Amazing. Check out Team-Malizia.com to read about the work.

Then, two days after #FridaysforFuture/Global Climate Strike, the Silent Procession for Puerto Rico. I will walk not only for Puerto Rico but for all the people in the world who are at the mercy of the merciless.

Live long and prosper,

Sol

NFAND CODA | Team Malizia
™ pzimgtwo.png

Greta Thunberg is traveling in an emission-free high-speed sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean while the tragedy of the burning Amazon rainforest unfolds.

She is coming to North and South America to speak at forums like the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York and COPS25 in Santiago, Chile. 

Her uncompromising journey must stand as one the bravest and kindest acts of leadership that we know of today. With her on board, four brave souls-her father, Svante Thunberg, filmmaker Nathan Grossman, Skipper Boris Herrmann, and Team Founder Pierre Casiraghi.


The ocean knows

Things

Engine clean

Sunlight

Wind

And purity

Bravery

“Safe travels queen”


Godspeed

Malizia

Sail fast and steady

in the boundless ocean

Ahead you sail

With five brave souls

#myoceanchallenge

Around the globe glides the sly one.


The song “Manta Ray” from Race to Extinction | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1JiJhWkM9M

Team Malizia | Read skipper’s statement

CODA XVIII A Sea of Tears and a Revolution Part II, Daughters and Sons
July 2019 from across the net

July 2019 from across the net

PART II-Daughters and Sons

(A Sea of Tears and a Revolution | Part One: Citizen)  | Dedicated to artists, asylum seekers all across the globe, and Puerto Rico

 Daughters and sons of la diaspora come in all forms. It is perhaps reason number one I love New York City. The place where we, “the others,” from all corners of the world and types of backgrounds, have a chance to meet as equals. I really appreciate that, the essence of the lesson.

 On June 4, 2019 | Democracy Now! featured Damning Canadian Inquiry Calls the Murder and Disappearance of Indigenous Women & Girls Genocide. The words of First Nations jurist in British Columbia, serving as Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Marion Buller apply also to the entire Northern, Central, Southern, American Continent.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/4/murders_of_indigenous_women_in_canada

 “…The genocide that has occurred in Canada has been over generations of people—generations of human rights and indigenous rights violations; deliberate underfunding of services and programs to indigenous people; forcibly removing children from their families, children being removed and never being seen again by their own families, by their own communities; forced sterilization of women and girls. The list goes on. But from our perspective and from the legal definition, genocide can be over a long period of time of deliberate state action, that looks different from what we commonly think of as genocide. But it is genocide, legally, nonetheless.” 

 The admittance of genocide and the call-to-action for reparations for women and girls by the Canadian government resonated with me. 

 Lately, a lot has been written about violence against women in Puerto Rico and the women leading the fight. Since the chat, the people now know the aftermath of Hurricane María is a certifiable matter of crimes against humanity of holocaust proportions. 

 I thought about Edwin Miranda’s words, I saw the future it’s so wonderful, there are no Puerto Ricans.

 If it's true for Canada, then same awful truths and precepts as in the United States of conquest, genocide, rape, slavery, empire building, torture, subjugation, building upon sadness the road ahead for more by exploitation apply to us, la (s) diaspora (s). 

 “And so it has come to pass, it is indeed where we hang, this very premise falls on all of us to look at. It reflects the worst type of shine, the one we have never wanted to look at and the one that might just bring us down, the one where brother to brother kills himself and the one where the mighty nation kills us all out of fear from being disappeared.”

James Baldwin

I've been reading a lot, listening to a lot of radio, and watching a lot of videos from and about Puerto Rico. I picked up some stuff for your reference:



Alvin R Couto de Jesus | FB

Apoyemos a que se los 78 municipios de Puerto Rico logren convocar asambleas de pueblo. | Let's support Puerto Rico and in achieving town assemblies in all 78 municipalities.

This guy is something and posting really interesting commentary. You can follow his feed if you are on FB.


AUGUST 9, 2019 | WNYC On the Media
In Puerto Rico, What Comes Next?

By Alana Casanova-Burgess

https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/puerto-rico-what-comes-next?fbclid=IwAR3x8AYXLI3A9tJ9OqmgEKjCquWfzKx3Wgk9gN6A3srqkq1o32kr2MMvyTw

This is a great piece that captures the past month beautifully-really beautifully.

AUGUST 9, 2019 | Shondaland

Meet the Women Leading Puerto Rico's Feminist Revolution

By Sandra Guzmán

https://www.shondaland.com/live/a28653844/puerto-rico-protests-feminist-revolution/?fbclid=IwAR05-GFH1o5WGYPPn6FS2l_yia7BXnDZiS93rPim7tzfzE-S2g32AyTXUnw

I'm biased about Sandra because she's one of my closest sisters. She's fierce, a truthteller, and she's been busy writing some really important pieces. They are all included in this list.

9 DE AGOSTO DE 2019 | El País

La trama feminista y queer en Puerto Rico

Por Luci Cavallero y Verónica Gago

https://www.pagina12.com.ar/210857-la-trama-feminista-y-queer-en-puerto-rico?fbclid=IwAR0GwVAoig6Uk1qZVkLPOHsjJ_OaEX9OuRzYNWwP6zmB9HZ26QZzeMHjeEU

Watch all three of Karla Claudio Betancourt’s shorts. Tremendo artículo.

8 DE AGOSTO DE 2019 | WALO HD

La Kakistocracia PNP vs. #WanditaLaMala

Nación Chancleta

Very good and important show to listen. In Spanish. Walo is brilliant. He has the dark humor truthteller shtick down in true Puerto Rican slang-Class A. This particular show is a must-listen. You can follow him on FB, YouTube, iHeartRadio.

AUGUST 7, 2019 | Dissent Magazine

Puerto Rico Remade

By Frances Negrón-Muntaner

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/puerto-rico-remade

Frances is another fierce mind and a sister. She is amazing. Balanced, tempered, a soul of profound understanding.

AUGUST 6, 2019 | NBC THINK

Toni Morrison was America's conscience, one that's needed more than ever

By Sandra Guzman

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/toni-morrison-was-america-s-conscience-one-s-needed-more-ncna1039766?fbclid=IwAR2dlIZONiWuB_rXv4sgdXZA2rYyB5HvQOKCFzqV5i7JYLqe2RiIOTbnIIE


6 DE AGOSTO DE 2019 | CNN Español

Este Otro Puerto Rico Parte I

Por Silverio Pérez

https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/08/05/este-otro-puerto-rico-primera-parte/?fbclid=IwAR1iOp6PFhJOyW9lO57qSyyQnavg4HoEt1abrWFdYQAgvS3rRRjX2NAHosw


6 DE AGOSTO DE 2019 | CNN Español

Este otro Puerto Rico (Segunda Parte)

Por Silverio Pérez

https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/08/05/este-otro-puerto-rico-segunda-parte-opinion-silverio-perez/

Silverio Peréz is a genius and a national glory-a Class-A wordsmith. Follow him on FB. These two stories are important.

AUGUST 5, 2019 | Bustle

Women & Femmes Leading The Puerto Rico Protests On Their "Permanent Revolution"

By Raquel Reichard

https://www.bustle.com/p/women-femmes-leading-the-puerto-rico-protests-on-their-permanent-revolution-18544005

A MUST READ. A BEAUTY.

AUGUST 5, 2019 | LatinoUSA

Puerto Rico Is A Presidential Issue That Must Be Addressed

By SANDRA GUZMÁN

https://www.latinousa.org/2019/08/05/prdebates/


AUGUST 5, 2019 | NYT

The Puerto Rico Governor Started 3 Days Ago. But His Future Is Already in Doubt.

By Edmy Ayala and Patricia Mazzei

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/us/puerto-rico-governor.html?fbclid=IwAR3naQt2VGzfQPw-xCQB3UyrorD8p4V0WQ4O0WJxgurbsl6fKp1KOmLVD8I

The New York Times has covered really nicely. This is one of them pieces I liked. Other follow down below.

AUGUST 5, 2019 | WNYC The Takeaway Host Tanzina Vega

The Political Future of Puerto Rico

with guests Michael Deibert and Yarimar Bonilla

https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/political-future-puerto-rico


AUGUST 3, 2019 | Truthout

Rejecting Politics of Fear, Marginalized Puerto Ricans Led the Uprising

By Oscar Oliver-Didier

https://truthout.org/articles/rejecting-politics-of-fear-marginalized-puerto-ricans-led-the-uprising/


AUGUST 3, 2019 | NYT

After Protests, Will Real Change Come to Puerto Rico?

By Frances Robles and Patricia Mazzei

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/puerto-rico-future.html


AUGUST 2, 2019 | LatinoUSA - podcast

Why Ricky Resigned

https://www.latinousa.org/2019/08/02/whyrickyresigned/


AUGUST 2, 2019 | MTV

Meet the Women Who Toppled Puerto Rico’s Governor

By Yarimar Bonilla

http://www.mtv.com/news/3133648/women-puerto-rico-governor-rossello/?fb_ref=fbshare_web&fbclid=IwAR2gYxe9D8TLs4QxYWCxe_zlxAap_EJPSfokZY70EOCp1E0A4tojQ3aZTM8


AGOSTO 2, 2019 | 80Grados

Verano 2019: balances y perspectivas

Por Rafael Bernabe y Manuel Rodríguez Banchs

https://www.80grados.net/verano-2019-balances-y-perspectivas/


JULY 31, 2019 | WNYC The Takeaway Host Tanzina Vega

How the Political Crisis in Puerto Rico is Unifying the Puerto Rican Diaspora

with guests Caridad De La Luz, Andrew Padilla, and Samy Nemir Olivares

https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/political-crisis-puerto-rico-unifying-puerto-rican-diaspora

Thank you for Tanzina Vega, that's all I have to say.

JULY 30, 2019 | The Hill

After Rosselló, Puerto Rico needs democracy — not a 'recovery czar’

By Ariadna M. Godreau-Aubert

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/455344-after-rossello-puerto-rico-needs-democracy-not-a-recovery-czar


JULY 29, 2019 | Washington Post

What’s next for Puerto Rico? A reckoning with its colonial status.

By Julio Ricardo Varela

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/29/whats-next-puerto-rico-reckoning-with-its-colonial-status/


JULY 27, 2019 | NYT 

Did Puerto Rican Police Go Too Far During Protests? What the Video Shows.

By Evan Hill and Ainara Tiefenthäler

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/27/us/puerto-rico-violence-protests.html?fbclid=IwAR0eiyRsPLvdW1BDNZ3meUDDhUbVmZHrBMcOpKWhOUbxfISH5gqB4BgF-l8


JULY 26, 2019 | NYT

By Charo Henríquez

Cantar, bucear, perrear y rezar: las protestas creativas en Puerto Rico

https://www.nytimes.com/es/2019/07/26/protestas-creativas-puerto-rico/?fbclid=IwAR1vChu42vi1eYexZ-it1cM0VLx5fzFkghzyLdl5WxQKlpaOltq_xWvcxkI

JULY 25, 2019 | WNYC The Takeaway Host Tanzina Vega

'The People Have Spoken': Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Resigns

with guests David Begnaud, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Bianca Padró Ocasio

JULY 23, 2019 | BBC

Massive protests held in Puerto Rico after governor refuses to step down

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49075683?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cg41ylwvw3gt/puerto-rico&link_location=live-reporting-story

+

https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cg41ylwvw3gt/puerto-rico 

(BCC’s full list of stories on the island)


JULY 20, 2019 | CNN

Women in Puerto Rico know all too well why Rossello must resign

By Sandra Guzman

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/20/opinions/women-in-puerto-rico-know-why-rossello-must-resign-guzman/index.html


JULY 19, 2019 | Counterpunch

It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.

by MIGUEL A. CRUZ-DÍAZ

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/19/it-was-never-just-about-the-chat-ruminations-on-a-puerto-rican-revolution/

Backstory: https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/22/the-takeover-of-puerto-rico/

Miguel is super witty and nails the description of some very fine and important points.

JULY 18, 2019 | NYT

Puerto Ricans in Protests Say They’ve Had Enough

By Patricia Mazzei and Frances Robles

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/us/puerto-rico-rossello-governor-protests.html


JULY  18, 2019 | Reuters

More Puerto Rico protests planned as governor resists calls to resign

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico-idUSKCN1UD31Z


JULY 13, 2019 | Mother Jones

As Puerto Rico’s Governor Steps Down, a Protest Organizer Is Determined to Not Let “The People’s Fire Burn Out.”

By Justine Agrelo

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/07/as-puerto-ricos-governor-steps-down-a-protest-organizer-is-determined-to-not-let-the-peoples-fire-burn-out/


JULIO 28, 2019 | 80 Grados

Por José Nicolás Medina Fuentes

Congreso del pueblo y asamblea constitucional convocada desde la sociedad civil

https://www.80grados.net/congreso-del-pueblo-y-asamblea-constitucional-convocada-desde-la-sociedad-civil/?fbclid=IwAR1ijNYaiKzO-DlRCZmUnG73SrmuI_5rGIsgmUse19yzCBGW7P-ZJ5C1RBo

80Grados is fierce. I love this piece so much. Una belleza. It captures some essential sentiments that should be talked about more. Some commentators point out they missed including the freedom fighters from el PIP and previous eras, but nonetheless, the piece offers some important anchors. And it is beautifully written in Spanish.

CODA XVII | A Sea of Tears and a Revolution Part One, Citizen
CODA XVII images july 2019 pr revolu tion 17.11.03.png

Dedicated to artists, asylum seekers all across the globe, and to Puerto Rico.

__________________________________________________________________________

Part One

I’m a New York based puertorriqueña since 1990. This here little story, in parts, is about being Puerto Rican here since then, a bit about the Bronx and Eugenio María de Hostos Community College (Hostos), another bit about the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York City, Hurricane María, the evacuees, about force, artists, the future, and love. 

I remember September 20, 2017 as the date when all of Puerto Rico shook in terror - Puerto Rico is an 8 million people nation, three million in the island and 5 million across the world. The birds eye perspective of the approaching storm ignited a harrowing anguish deep inside me because I knew it would be a defeat. 

It was a sinking feeling that things had changed forever. Because everything changed after Hurricane María, everything. 

As I write these words a revolution is happening in Puerto Rico over years and centuries of tears. A history so subjugated it almost forgot itself. And alas, a form of poetic justice came to pass. Everything we knew was not right was not right. Signs for moral compass read that all Debauchery is simple truth and proof of criminality.  

synonymous of the noun, debauchery: dissoluteness · degeneracy · corruption · vice · turpitude · depravity · loucheness · rakishness · libertinism · immodesty · indecency · perversion · shamelessness · iniquity · wickedness · sinfulness · sinning · impropriety · lack of morals · lack of principles · immorality · impurity · unchastity · lasciviousness · salaciousness · lechery · lecherousness · lewdness · bawdiness · lust · lustfulness · libidinousness · licentiousness · promiscuity · wantonness · abandonment · abandon · profligacy · decadence · immoderateness · intemperance · lack of restraint · indulgence · self-indulgence · pleasure-seeking · hedonism · sybaritism · voluptuousness · concupiscence · lubricity · salacity

Hollow is the pain of the lonely heart. 

On the afternoon of September 20, 2017, I went home from work to watch the news. After the hurricane my house became a command center for connecting people and dispatching as much information coming my way as I could. My parents were in Puerto Rico and my Dad suffered the shingles through Hurricane Irma and María. To keep it simple, it was dramatic. My mother and aunt traveled to New York City six-weeks after the storm. On their first day in the mainland, mom had to go the hospital. Thus, began a hot hospital run for my sister and I for the next year and half. Culminating with mom’s open heart surgery in March of 2019, she had her martial valve replaced and eased of an aneurysm in her aorta. That alone, knocked us out spiritually, physically, and financially.

That first month after the hurricane was critical. It was taking a lot to get help, and puertorriqueños outside watched in desperation how it quickly disintegrated and it became evident that a rescue effort seemed to be assailed. 

In my eyes, credit to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for her SOS. One of the greatest gestures of courage to come at the right time for a true calamity.

From where I stood, I saw how todos los puertorriqueños up here either became champions or picked up other champions from politicians, to activists, and volunteers. I have never seen such a show of force and love for the homeland. The public denouncement from the Puerto Rican community in the mainland was instant and, it mobilized itself to help not only the island but also the displaced families from Puerto Rico, especially in places like Florida, New York City, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia. For, as the news of the aftermath rescue mission breakdown spread, (that we now know was criminally negligent), the inevitable news of puertorriqueños leaving for the United States began to unfold.

I was very cognizant that what was happening in the New York City was happening all over but, New York City is my doorstep. I know that here, it took local community leadership, elected officials, advocates, activists, foundations, volunteers, and academics to clamor for a justified way to face and manage the crisis of a new wave of Puerto Rican migrants who were destitute. Many families that I later met, came here without any knowledge of where they were coming to and what they would face. It broke my heart. And yet, they decided to stay in a city facing a serious housing crisis. Fueling gentrifying high-rent trends stressing out predominantly disenfranchised communities of color already struggling to stay afloat, are also making it an equal challenge for people with the privilege of language, education, and an honorable job.

Roughly, from October of 2017 to January of 2018 New York City had a slew of organizations and leaders mobilized in supporting and standing up for displaced families from Hurricane María: New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), Catholic Charities, New York Police Department (NYPD) New York Fire Department (NYFD), The Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo, The Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Public Advocate and NY Attorney General Letitia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Diaspora x PuertoRico, Union Community Health Center (UCHC), Urban Health Plan (UHP), Department of the Aging, Acacia Network, and so many people came forward for the displaced families. All the leagues understood that the displaced families needed us, “la diaspora.”

What a big little phrase, la diaspora. For how long has it been a diaspora? Where does it come from? Who becomes it? How do we become it? Who decides? How does it live outside of Puerto Rico? Can it be unraveled? These are important questions. 

Immersed in news these past few weeks here are some of the voices I love:

Bonita Radio - Carmen Enid goes on early in the a.m., check website for streaming details.

Walt HD - Streams after work hours, 6ish time.

Jay Fonseca - Post various times throughout the day-usually early morning, noon, and at night.

Anibal Acevedo Vilá - everyday from 8 to 10 a.m. Radio Isla 1320.

David Begnaud - Posts throughout the day or breaking news.

 Now…I am no historian, but I have read, seen, and been told a bit. I’ll tell and share in my order. The following are some voice of la diaspora. 

Read here (SOS), listen here (Elba Cabrera part I of II), and listen here (Pete Miranda Part I of II).

Sol

CODA XIV: The fallen men (from March 10, 2019)
University of Puerto Rico, photographer unknown from Humanidades UPRRP.

University of Puerto Rico, photographer unknown from Humanidades UPRRP.


(First shared via private list serve on Sunday, March 10, 2019.) Andrew Bacevich, was a guest on Democracy Now early this week. Look him up if you don’t know him. During his interview, he ended up describing how we, the people of the U.S. don’t care. It was something in his tenor and his delivery, subtle, and though hurtful, it is a truth, and his concern over our inhumane ways is the central crux of his writings. That same day, 7 March, Mr. David Brooks’(no less!) op-ed piece “The Case for Reparations” appeared in The Times. I was indeed taken aback, as I never expected Mr. Brooks to offer such an acknowledgment. The consequences of our worst mistakes are in our backyard sinking in our soil and growing roots. It’s a mad-house of gigantic and catastrophic proportions out there. Other recent alarming reads, news of the closing of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in April 2019 - a few of the Spanish language articles I read, METRO PR, El Nuevo Dia, 80 Grados. To say that this imminent closure is barbaric is an understatement. In a nutshell, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education did not approve accreditation of the UPR. That decision made it easy for the fiscal control board to make and share their determinations on the future of the country’s only higher education public university system.

This week, in particular, I can’t shake away that we are being led and drowned by fallen men. I’m looking for clearings to stay the course and I remembered Mr. Fernando Ferrer’s share for Episode 54. What I wrote about him then, still stands. So unassuming, un hombre sencillo, his time was also being drowned and he to a chance and made a difference. This UPR thing and the fallen men somehow connects to Hostos Community College for me, its history and its reason for being. He has something to say about all that, his life does. And, because it is Women’s History Month I share all three programs of the women Presidents of Hostos Community College - Flora Mancuso, Isaura Santiago Santiago (part I of II) and Dolores Fernández (Part I of II). Without education, you kill a place slowly, the cruelest way to die.

Sol

CODA XII: Photo gallery | book week in Puerto Rico

Here CODA XII: Gallery of photos | Book week in Puerto Rico.

There’s something about sincere closeness, familial love, and streets you know that simply linger. 

Sit, breathe, and wait a bit. Take your thoughts and imagine yourself abruptly being taken by the ankles as you become a pendulum swinging side-to-side with force. You surrender to the sway. It begins to slow down until the swinging comes to a full soft stop. You drop to a body of water. When you come up for air some of those people and streets, the closeness, are out there and its safe again. That was Puerto Rico last week.

A bounty of grace and love.

CODA IX: humanity

I’m spent. I’m signing off until after the New Year. Year 2018 has been my busiest year yet. The beginning of the year was still about the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A lot of pieces to pick up. From taking care of mother and aunt to then working with displaced families in the City, to publishing View For Death, 2018 has been about caring for people’s dignity, including my own. And, I’m still working on getting Wilbur and Julio their bikes. So let me know if you want to join that collection.

There are some dark and sinister things going on in this country, and the world really. But here, this thing at the border vomits on dignity and humanity. Some of the best reporting I’ve read lately, and I read a bit, is coming from Paola Mendoza for Families Belong Together. She has been documenting the Caravan and the hurt with such love, so beautifully written, it brings tears to my eyes. She has been searingly capturing the stories of these refugees like no one out there. Go check it out if you haven’t already. Refugees all across the globe deserve better. They deserve for their humanity and dignity to be held like when you hold a bird with broken wings in your hand. 

Connect to humanity. Not only because ’tis the season, but because we are all we’ve got, the earth is the only land we’ve got, and it belongs to all of us. We all have red blood.

Be good. With love,

Sol

Episode 114 | Julio Pabón, on amending The Jones Act
finger print puerto-rico-654978_960_720.png

“Puerto Rico Flag Fingerprint country pride” by Pixabay is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Words and reasonings flow out of Julio Pabón with rhythm and feeling. He’s a natural storyteller. Here he delves into the history and particulars of The Jones Act. The long-standing maritime law creates a lockdown in the ports that has and continues to place an unjust economic burden on the people of Puerto Rico. He wants to go to Jacksonville for a National Day of Respect & Justice for Puerto Rico on October 26, 27, and 28, 2018. This is a non-partisan issue for Julio and his comrades, this is a human rights issue.


The central events will take place in Orlando on October 26 with a film showing; a rally in Kissimmee on October 27; closing with a symposium on The Jones Act in Jacksonville, Florida on October 28. We want Puerto Ricans, allies, and friends to do some kind of event wherever they live in the United States on The Jones Act and its impact on the island. Julio says that actions large and small count: share art, news, hold vigils, calls, and letters to local Congressional and Federal Senators #amendthejonesact, “please put the issue of Puerto Rico and The Jones Act on your agendas. Puerto Ricans in the island don't have a vote in our Federal elections, BUT WE DO!”


Sol


NFAND CODA V | The promised land is the earth

CODA V - One day this past week I found a perfect parking spot in a really busy area in the northern Bronx when I realized this Wall on the driverside of the car.

bronx wall art.jpg

For some reason, I simply loved it. Like the way, I get hooked on things and want to keep them close to me. It's been profoundly busy these past few months, weeks, days, hours...I'm a bit burnt for good reasons, loving reasons, really because I love and care for people. For now, for today, all I have this:

The Wall

#FreeHumanity #Respect&JusticeForPuertoRico #FamiliesBelongtogether #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForMuslims #FreePalestine #WomenRightsAreHumanRights #LGBTQRightsAreHumanRights #LoveTrumpsHate 

We are all #AsylumSeekers 

The promised land is the earth

#ClimateChangeIsReal

Live long and prosper,

Sol

 

Episode 102 | Julio Pabón, business man and activist/advocate
Julio Pabon_Medium 2.jpg

 

Episode 102 | In my heart and mind I owe this to Julio.

Julio Pabón is incredible. History. Really. Listen to him.

Dad sometimes stays at his house when he visits New York City, and Dad is not a man to stay at people’s houses, but it’s Julio.

He is jovial, kind, noble, a badass, funny as hell, what a way to tell a story. A natural storyteller. And, he always stands for respect and justice for Puerto Rico. 

This is a chronicle of Puerto Rican migration, New York City, the South Bronx, and earning a life of dignity.

That's all I have. Sometimes, less is more.

May the force be with you,

Sol

NFAND CODA II - SOS
For reference, CODA I  here .

For reference, CODA I here.

Puerto Rico needs us desperately. Desperately de Socorro

Through my work at Hostos Community College, I’m a part of The Bronx Coalition Supporting Hurricane Maria Evacuees. The BxCoSHME is composed of organizations representing a range of sectors. As organizations, it sprung from Union Community Health Center with Diaspora X Puerto Rico, Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College, NYC Department of the Aging, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, and Public Advocate Letitia James. 

On 24 March a Bienvenida and Resource Fair held at Hostos’ gymnasium organized by the BxCoSHME, brought over 50 agencies covering a range of services and offerings. As much as it was about offering guidance, it was also about letting our Puerto Rican families know, they are not alone. There are many people behind-the-scenes working overtime on their dime to help. It is a beautiful display of solidarity and love. I stand with love and looking for ways to strengthen our ties and bring others on board.

Other coalition meetings have been taking place throughout the City. About two weeks ago, two different meetings took place in one week, theBxCOSHME and another, where the leadership of #OurPowerNYCpr and the Creative Justice Initiative with Speakers Elizabeth Yeampierre from UPROSE, Marta Moreno Vega from CCCADI, Nelson Denis, Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez, Perla De León, and others inspired action and an alliance of coalitions to come together for a cause. 

At this meeting of about 100 people in-and-out, a few of the families came out and shared what they were going through. Two hats passed around and almost $2,000 in cash showed up for the families. The share illustrated how the displacement of hurricane refugees affects in a greater number women with children and vulnerable adults with various types of needs. Three women have stepped up as spokeswomen for themselves and the rest of the families: Sofia Miranda, Brenda Suarez, and Andrea Tejada Rivera. These women have been nurtured or guided by Victor Martínez, Surey Miranda-Alarcón, Luz Correa, Lilah Mejia, Lizette Colón, Ana López, and many others. At this meeting, we had Grand Dame Elba Cabrera, Nydia Edgecombe, Wally Edgecombe, Julio Pabón, Ruth Rodríguez, Minerva Urrutia and many many more behind-the-scenes champions. More things are being created and planned out by these groups and individuals and many more coming on board. 

So much to stay. I’m feeling el colmo de los colomos. Revolting. It’s a slow death showing hues of done on purpose. A rude awakening to many. And, it’s way more and deeper still than all I can or care to express right now. I’m giving you the gist because this is a crisis. 

A real serious crisis. 

Crimes against humanity crisis.

Lost at sea crisis.

SOS.

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Below: Press Conference update and 2 Calls-for-Help

SEE | 19 April 2018 | City Hall steps press conference | Coalitions stand for Puerto Rican families living in FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program:

NY1

http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2018/04/20/hotel-voucher-program-for-displaced-puerto-ricans-set-to-expire

GETTY IMAGES

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/event/puerto-rican-families-displaced-by-hurricane-maria-facing-hotel-eviction-hold-rally-at-city-hall-775155763#/activists-rally-in-support-of-puerto-rican-families-displaced-by-on-picture-id948741038

LATINO REBELS

http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/04/19/nyc-mayor-announces-city-will-pay-for-temporary-housing-of-displaced-puerto-ricans/

TELEMUNDO 47

https://www.telemundo47.com/noticias/local/Puertorrique_os-se-unen-contra-el-desalojo-en-NYC_TLMD---Nueva-York-480302273.html

EL DIARIO NY

https://eldiariony.com/2018/04/19/de-blasio-lanza-salvavidas-a-victimas-de-huracan-maria-para-que-no-queden-en-la-calle/

CBS New York

https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/w/puerto-ricans-in-nyc-after-hurricane-face-eviction-as-fema-aid-ends/vp-AAw52b5

NOTICIA LONG ISLAND

https://www.noticiali.com/articles/coalicion-pide-ayuda-para-familias-puertorriquenas-que-perderan-alojamiento-en-ny/

ENCLAVE MAGAZINE

http://www.enclavemag.com/familias-desplazadas-por-el-huracan-maria-viven-incertidumbre-en-nueva-york/

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LITTLE GESTURES MATTER  

Two (2) things you can do now to help

 

SEEKING: An organization or individual to donate Five (5) Nursing Books for Urban Health Plan. 

+Let me know if you are interested in supporting and I’ll connect you. “I just want to ask if there is any organization you may be aware that can donate 5 nursing books (CLEP) for the nurses we have hired.” 

LOOK OUT FOR Zulema Arroyo Farley - ArtzCureSarcoma

+I cut-and-pasted the most important part of her email.

“Don Fran is a 61-year-old, living in inhumane conditions in Cabo Rojo Puerto Rico, not far from where I grew up.  He is battling vocal chords cancer.  The surgery he had 3 weeks ago, has left him mute for life. He worked for over 30 years in the local municipality as a temporary employee  Every new administration promised him a permanent position with health and retirement benefits, but each time he was misled. The government was more concerned about saving money.  Consequently, he does not have private health care or a pension.  The case reached my foundation two days ago.

No human being deserves to live like this and furthermore, it puts into perspective the fortunate lives we truly live.

While Don Fran heals from the surgery and awaits treatment, I have secured 20 volunteers who will spend one-day cleaning and organizing his house. One of our board members met with the mayor of the town today who promised to pick up all the debris surrounding his house from hurricane maria tomorrow. We have secured a few urgent things for him such as bedsheets, pillows, and converting his home from 110 to 220 watts (all appliances in Puerto Rico run on 220v), but I would like him to have a decent home prior to him starting his chemo regimen. A clean home, a clean stove, a refrigerator and a bed for him. 

This is how you can help:  a monetary donation to my foundation (tax deductible) OR I can tell you where to purchase what we need. The list of what we need is below:

- A roof 

- A bathroom 

- Stove

- Washer

- Kitchen Cabinets

- King Bed with Mattress Set

- Refrigerator

- Weekly groceries for soft foods and liquid diet

- Transportation to treatment (he is not allowed to drive)

- Bedroom Set (nightstand)

- Dining Table and Chairs

- Labor and materials for rebuilding his roof and bathroom which in turn will help a local business. 

Where to donate? Click here ArtzCureSarcoma

We are all extremely privileged, so tonight instead of that bottle of wine, the new pair of shoes, or the restaurant dinner, how about making a donation and make a lasting impact on their lives.

Love Always,

Zulema”

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Thank you to so many of you. That’s all I got for now. More to come.

Write to me, join us.

With love,

Sol

Episode 100 | View For Death, my first book, Trina Bardusco talks with me
View from Herlev Hospital, Denmark 2015. Photo by Soldanela Rivera

View from Herlev Hospital, Denmark 2015. Photo by Soldanela Rivera

For episode 100 I asked my dear friend Trina Bardusco, writer, director, producer, entrepreneur, and duende to speak with me about the book project I’ve been working on for the past three years, View For Death, in memory of my late husband, Dan Larsen.

Yes, not a light title, but those of you who know me know there is really nothing light about me. I feel, think, express, and give myself from the core of my being.

How it came to be that I get to announce this self-published labor of love nearly on the eve of his of his passing on 17 April 2015 is perhaps the wind from the other realm. I don’t know, but maybe. Three is the triad: the beginning, the middle, and the end; or birth, life, and death; or past, present, and future.

The number three also corresponds to the three generous women who came through almost at the last minute and helped me realize my vision and bring me to the finish line. My Belle du Jour Lara Gallardo, graphic designer extraordinaire. The fantastical lady of words, my Spanish translator and soul-sister, Marlène Ramírez-Cancio. And, last but not least, my little sister’s mother and my friend, Damarys Reyes-Vicente, the Spanish copy editor. Without these three women, I wouldn’t have been able to make it. 

So much happens in the artistic indie journey right? I nearly gave up after Hurricane María, which for all sort of circumstances wiped out my entire budget. I had barely enough to pay Lara something, Marlène and Damarys worked for pro-bono. I sat and meditated on all I had accomplished in the past three years and sought to seek and believe that even though I had no money, there was a way to make the book a reality.

View For Death is a memoir dedicated to caregivers all over the world. The book is not only for caregivers, but for anyone who’s lost someone they love. I also hope the book can serve anyone who wants to find a way to solace during a grieving time.

So long as this book sells 50% of the money from sales are destined for the VFD Fund. To start, I aim to help women caregivers in dire straights in the United States and Puerto Rico. If all goes, the project will evolve to expand and include men caregivers in dire straights and ultimately, move on to other places, but the journey of a thousand steps begins with step one.

So. View For Death will drop on Amazon on 17 May 2018 as an electronic book, there will be print on demand, and print copies will come later in the season. After the exclusive period with Amazon, View For Death will be on digital platforms where books sell. 'Till then I'll be promoting the book. In the meantime, listen to my heart-to-heart with Trina and visit www.viewfordeath.com.

More to come…

With strength and honor

Soldanela