Broken Promises and Broken Systems: Interview with Karen Rossi, documentary filmmaker from Puerto Rico

The Update

It’s been a month of tough conversations with my family, protests, and press conferences.

The anniversary of my stepdads death was also this month – so it’s been an incredibly difficult time for me and my family.

The Return to Boriken, Interrupted:

I had to deliver really heartbreaking news to my family over Thanksgiving about my move to PR. For those following this journey, I shared on Instagram that in fact, I can’t move back to Puerto Rico due to a colonial policy that continues affecting our communities. It is just one of many barriers that prevent Puerto Ricans from coming home…

After initially approving a remote move to Puerto Rico, my work found that tax laws are considered international in Puerto Rico, so moving would lead to loss of benefits, health insurance. They were only able to approve a move to another state. So I chose New York City, the place where Puerto Rican activists have been at it for decades, and historically where many Boricuas displaced by colonialism have chosen to make their home. Meanwhile the tax system benefits those outside the island, as a tax haven for the wealthy, but keeps families apart. In many ways, moving to NYC felt like I was breaking a promise not only to my mom but also to the Island as well. So it was a tough to tell her, knowing what had happened just a year ago…

And grief is a powerful thing… it breaks you, it overwhelms you in unexpected ways.

So I took some time from podcasting to focus on my family and simply enjoy being on the island. However, recent events in Puerto Rico led me out onto the streets. In this episode I cover my experiences at the protests in Old San Juan on gender-based violence and a Press Conference on toxic-ash dumping that is causing cancer and other illnesses in the population. Read more about the Protests at the end and also please support Colectiva Feminista En Construcción here, as well as the Coalition against Ash dumping here.

The goal of this podcast is not just to help raise awareness on our struggle but connect us to the solutions.

This Puerto Rican Movement is ours to lead.

I hope you will also listen in and share this week’s Interview with a Puerto Rican filmmaker whose voice is a powerful reminder that WOMEN will lead the next social revolution.

Thank you Karen – you spoke from the heart and you shed a light on the work we still need to do.

A Puerto Rican Documentary

Karen Rossi is a Puerto Rican woman and documentary filmmaker who just completed documentary called “Ser Grande/When I grow Up” about 3 young kids growing up in the Luis Llorens housing project in Puerto Rico.

She stated that she did this documentary when she started asking which organizations in Puerto Rico are tackling social issues from a preventative point of view. That’s when she found “Jovenes De Puerto Rico.” https://www.jovenesdepuertoricoenriesgo.org

From that question, “Ser Grande” came to be. You can check out the trailer here:  https://youtu.be/VOPR-uJbSpE

Karen also shares her work with AdocPR – a non-profit organization that brings together documentary filmmakers. And AdocPR has just released a web-based store that sells films by Puerto Rican filmmakers.

The Web-Based lease share this link and support their movement to create a platform for more diverse voices in Film:


In the News:

Documental boricua “Ser grande” es recibido con entusiasmo en La Habana @ElNuevoDia http://fw.to/uLOfptj

More about AdocPR:

AdocPR is a non-profit organization that brings together several generations of documentary filmmakers in the country with the aim of promoting the development of documentary film, and improve our working conditions. .

Protests, Press Conferences and the Illegal debt

The Protest was covered in multiple mediums but this article is a great start if you want to learn more and how to support the movement to address Gender-based Violence:

To learn more about the Toxic ash dumping you can review these 2 sources that cover the issue very well:

You can also follow a few coalitions that organize on the island to protest the legislation and trucks that dump toxic ash:




Judge Swain and the COFINA Agreement has been in the news recently and the links below show how you can take direct action to help stop legislation that will adversely impact the lives of Puerto Ricans. You can learn more in the links below:

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