On July 25th after less than 2 weeks of protests and millions on the streets, the current Governor of Puerto Rico announced his resignation.
“I see the future of Puerto Rico and it has no Puerto Ricans” – from the chats that have fired up the entire Puerto Rican nation and led to more than a million people on the streets of San Juan. This week, the resignation of the Governor, Ricardo Rossello led to celebrations and worldwide coverage.
Movements or Revolutions like the one happening in Puerto Rico have historically been led by the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color, but often we don’t get to hear their voices. While I was happy mainstream media is on the island, led by David Begnaud, a reporter for CBS who is gay and a fierce advocate for Puerto Ricans on the island – we need to hear more from the queer Puerto Ricans who are a powerful and impactful voice in these movements.
“When you grow up queer, you grow up having to fight the system” – Joanna Cifredo
So I wanted to speak to those community activists that are queer and who have contributed in impactful ways with their words and actions and writings. One thing struck me when I spoke to Joanna Cifredo for her interview: they fight because there is no escaping the kind of discrimination they experience. There is no alternative for them. From the time they are young they know they are one of the most marginalized and most oppressed of groups. And let’s talk about intersectionality as well because being afrolatinx and queer comes with very different barriers and challenges. More coverage on that is needed from those who have been doing the work. I hope to capture more conversations around that soon.
During the interview, Joanna mentioned the Orlando Pulse tragedy and that was such a punch in the gut because even though many Boricuas died in that tragedy and many of us know that, there is not enough acknowledgement of the threats their community faces every single day.
I wanted to bring together queer voices for this episode because I know there are not enough platforms and not enough coverage that acknowledges their contributions in their own words. Inclusivity shouldn’t be a fad or a buzz word, it should be an action. So let’s stand with them in solidarity and let’s acknowledge how important they are to this Puerto Rican Revolution because until there is justice for all there is no justice. I know I am a very small part of this movement but – I hope we recognize more and more the importance of these voices in a world that needs healing and unity.
Joanna, Xavi, and Alejandro… thank you for letting me share your words, your passion and your intellect with our community of Boricuas both on the island and the Diaspora…
I hope to see you en la isla or in New York someday soon…
You can learn more about each of this weeks Interviewees at the following social media Instagram handles: @JoannaCifredo, @QueerJibaro (Xavi), and @AlejandroSantiago2020
The first interview in the episode is with Joanna Cifredo a trans woman and Queer Activist who is doing amazing work with the Puerto Rican youth, the second is with writer Xavi Burgos Pena also an activist and amazing voice in the diaspora, and last but not least Alejandro Santiago, a social worker and community activist in Puerto Rico who is a powerful speaker and
You can find Joanna’s GoFundMe page here:
The Washington Post article by Lilliam Rivera can be found here: