There were screams, cheers, and singing in the streets when massive protests forced the governor of Puerto Rico (Ricardo Rosselló) to waive the white flag. We like to think the Taino and African ancestors are somewhere smiling; The Spaniard Colonizers, maybe not so much. Not since the former Mayor of Detroit ( Kwame Kilpatrick) have text messages taken someone out so swiftly. Leaked text messages of the former governor were sexist, homophobic, and even violent, but the texts were likely just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria more than 3,000 people lost their lives. To find a more deadly storm you have to travel back to the year 1900 in Galveston, TX where the dead surpassed 8,000 people. Many survivors of Hurricane Maria are very much alive despite the lack of clean water, electricity, medical supplies, and poor distribution of resources following the storm. Residents of the island paradise watched loved ones die, not so much as a direct result of the hurricane, but the failure of an administration to protect the wellbeing of its citizens.
When you don’t have electricity, or running water, or enough food, what do you have? You have each other. You learn to share again, you resurrect a sense of community, you realize you are much more alike than you are different. When we shift focus away from things meant to divide us it’s amazing how clearly we can see folks robbing us blind.
The people from the great islands of Puerto Rico gave us the roadmap to revolution; don’t back down, stand your ground, and don’t take no for an answer. And for that , in the words of the late great Tupac Shakur, “You are appreciated”.
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