Stories from the Diaspora: Estelas De Maria

This week’s episode, we cover three notable Puerto Rican Community Leaders, that were panelists in an event in Boston, MA on June 28.

The Community Leaders talk about their work after Maria, the call to Audit the Debt, and the revolution that Puerto Rico needs to fight the injustice of colonialism. Their thought-provoking discussion is a call to us in the Diaspora to stand up for the rights of Puerto Ricans.

I was encouraged by their hard work, their advocacy, and their encouragement to fight for Social Justice.

Towards the end of the event, we also hear from an audience member who notes that the local Governor stated removal of the Jones Act was “complicated” – and the audience member notes that Senator Corey Booker from New Jersey, receives donations from the shipping Unions that directly benefit from the Jones Act. It is clear from the discussion among diasporicans that we want to mobilize and organize to find ways to bring these types of barriers to light. Corey Booker’s Twitter is @CoryBooker – let’s ask him to stand by Puerto Ricans, and continue to call out our representatives here in the US.

Another question by the audience was regarding which political party can best address the issues Puerto Rico is seeing. The response from the panel highlights that the political class only advocates for Colonialism, and are essentially, a single party system. Predatory practices also were discussed, and therefore the need to audit the debt, since it seems the Puerto Rican government cannot be trusted.

“We lack leadership on the island with credibility”

I also share my story as well – and the names of two organizations that are working to empower Boricuas in the Diaspora about how they can engage their elected officials:

The event was hosted by Inquilinos Boricuas En Accion, a non profit dedicated to address displacement of low-income families due to urban development. Their mission is to empower and engage individuals/Families through high-quality affordable housing, education, and arts program.

You can find more info on IBA here: http://www.ibaboston.org/who-we-are/


WBUR reporter Simon Rios moderated the event, and more information on the panelists can be found below:

Jossie Valentin – Holyoke City Councilor

Edgardo Cotto – Egleston Square Org Executive Director

Pedro Reina-Perez –  Director of the Harvard Puerto Rico Winter Institute


Please watch the performance photojournalism done on Hurricane Maria below which was showcased by IBA in their Gallery Center:




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