Para el Borikén como yo,
It’s a strange duality to exist both because of colonialism and in spite of it. It can be hard reconciling what one half of you has done to the other. In every action I take, in every accomplishment I enjoy, I think of them: the Arawak, the Borikén, the Caribs, the Yoruba, and the Igbo people. All of them melded together, creating something beautiful in the midst of great suffering. They came together to create a unique culture in Puerto Rico, not because of white colonialism, but in spite of it. Everyday Puerto Rico exists, much like me, both because of and in spite of the one thing that seeks to destroy us. We take from the cultures set on stamping ours out and create something more beautiful than the source material.
Santeria was born out of the forced conversion of slaves in Puerto Rico to Christianity. Slaves of different backgrounds, different beliefs, sought solace in their religions together. Religions they had to disguise for safety. A practice that can still be felt today in the tense air around mesa blanca. I believe as Puerto Ricans we are constantly playing tug-o-war with these different facets of our identity. We are Caribbean, we are Latinx, we are American, and we will always be Borikén.
The differences between us are vast, but when we come together you can expect good food and boisterous conversation. You can expect us to fall back into what our ancestors did, melding together and sharing in our joint experience. We are a small island, but a large people. Borikén is not just our home, it is the people we come from, the people we are. We are many hearts, but one soul. The soul of Borikén.
De un Borikén como tú.