From contributing writer Javier Smith Torres: The expulsion that different peoples of the world have suffered from their homelands throughout history demonstrates that Puerto Rico is not the only nation to have an important part of its people refuged outside of the national territory.
En lo que estamos ocupados mirando hacia un Don Pedro, una Lolita, un Filiberto y un Betances, elles nos devuelven la mirada, esperando a ver que haremos para liberarnos de todo esto.
How do I, with two children, navigate these two realities: being forced to vaccinate one before we are ready, yet nervous sending my youngest to school unvaccinated? Neither option generated confidence in me, but there is a beauty to options, and a despair in debating options that don’t exist because they are being decided for you, either by your parents, or the government.
This land has been both my mother and greatest teacher so this anniversary is always a celebration of having returned to her womb. The video below captures my freestyle reflection/ meditation on these seven years...
...an internationalist liberation struggle shifts our gaze away from the falling empire to the north, turns our sights sideways and south to our greater Caribbean and Latin American family./ una lucha libertaria internacionalista aleja nuestra mirada del imperio estadounidense, reenfocándola hacia nuestra gran familia caribeña y latinoamericana.
Many say we cannot sustain ourselves here, yet many of us are not able to sustain ourselves stateside either. Why aren’t we talking more about this?
…these pandemic times of exponential loss, of losses still looming from government neglect. Of eyes threatened by quarantine, seldom breathing in daylight, seldom squinting at soaring hawks and clouds. Glued to the nearsighted-inducing numbness of devices and small screens. Tired eye muscles long scrolling with your newsfeed. Liberation never looked so lovely, so necessary.
I started this piece as a tribute to the luminescent brothers whose lives were stolen in Minnesota: Philando Castile and George Floyd. It has morphed into a reflection on the battle for black lives and black breaths, that I've witnessed since childhood, and on one's political formation within the colonized communities of the US empire... crumbling.
Pero si miras debajo de la superficie, hay unos cielos submarinos donde nuestros antepasados lucen resplandecientes. Brillan una luz eterna. Al igual que la nuestra cuando nos levantamos en protesta con el fuego de la justicia que arde brillante dentro de nuestros pulmones y corazones, respirando luz y amor de vuelta a la existencia./
But if you look beneath the dark surface, there is an underwater heaven with our ancestors aglow. Their light has long shined bright. As does ours each time we rise in protest with the fire of justice burning bright inside our lungs and hearts, breathing light and love back into existence.
May we release the need to measure ourselves by what we receive externally. May we become self-sufficient galaxies of love and nurturing before being allowed to reintegrate back into our communities for collective decolonizing and healing.
We all sit here numb, bewildered, isolated, wondering. Many infected. Too many dying. Many mourning. Only some are drawing concrete conclusions. Even fewer are generating plans of what kind of earth, what kind of humanity we want to bring into existence.
No matter the flags, the berets and formations, or the “red, black and green jumpsuits”, the revolution won’t be televised. And if too many of us forgot, even more of us never knew. It is my belief we are asking to much from a venue never designed to give it. We are wanting too much from people not equipped to offer it, but it is ok to hold them accountable, and ourselves accountable too.
I work to process the deep grief I hold for this Puerto Rico. The one that shakes every hour and waves, sways, pulses, taps, vibrates in between. I hold deep grief for the Puerto Rico of my mother’s dreams. The womb that held her when she was held in her own mother’s womb.