It has to be from here,
right this instance,
my cry into the world.
My cry that is no more mine,
but hers and his forever,
the comrades of my silence,
the phantoms of my grave.
"Farewell from Welfare Island" by Julia De Burgos
Have you ever felt as if you have no home? You left your home to have a better life,
to only return and not be welcomed, or appreciated for the sacrifices you made? You're made fun of or looked down at as different or inferior.
This is the Nuyorican journey my family experienced, and the plight of millions of Puerto Ricans everywhere who moved from the "island of enchantment" to the mainland United States to better their lives. This migration occurred throughout the twentieth century, when the plantation economy in Puerto Rico was forced to switch to manufacturing.
Puerto Ricans were left with no choice, but to leave the island for the mainland. They left for better opportunities and to provide for their families. This migration was called the Puerto Rican Diaspora.
Puerto Ricans faced racism in their new homelands equal to and worse to what they faced back home. Children of this migration identified as Puerto Rican, were taught about their homeland, but when came back to visit what was known to be home, felt out of place.
Maybe their Spanish was not very good; they were taught to learn English and to not take criticism in their new world because they should be treated equal. Maybe they were not as familiar with the customs of the Island; they had to suppress their customs to not be criticized in their new home.
They were looked down on, left feeling that the home that they identified with no longer welcomed them and saw them as strange, not up to par, and it still goes on today.
“It is this Puerto Rican identity, shaped by experiences in the north, that propelled the diaspora to become politically active on behalf of its communities and of Puerto Rico.” NBC News, Gretchen Sierra- Zorita
I say, embrace us. We are your hope to end the colonization of Puerto Rico because we have learned to fight back.
We, the children of the Diaspora, see the island from a different point of view, from a distance, and we understand, as maybe islanders don’t because they are too close and too complacent with their status as nowhere and no country, what needs to be done to be free.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
Song of the Boricua by Olivia Castillo
*The photos displayed are not mine and I do not own the rights to the photos used