Saturday, June 12, 2010


¡Hola! Everybody…
I’m headed out the annual 116th Street Festival in East Harlem …Tomorrow I will be attending the largest outdoor event in the U.S. -- the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

During the 1960’s an identity movement by Puerto Ricans in New York gave birth to an artistic movement encompassing literature and music. This new movement had its roots in a strong political background and was influenced by the black civil rights movement. Early Nuyorican writers were for the most part linked to activist organizations such as the Young Lords, organizations that promoted social and economic justice, and personal/ political empowerment. The movement brought a sense of pride and identity to Puerto Ricans and channeled their dissatisfaction into a political movement. Artistically, this movement had a huge impact on literature and music. More on Nuyoricans tomorrow. Today I want to share a poem that exemplifies what it means to be a Puerto Rican in a black and white world. I believe the Latino/a racial paradigm has the potential to transform the racial dynamics in the U.S.

* * *

-=[ Child of the Americas ]=-

I am a child of the Americas,
a light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean,
a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads.

I am a U.S. Puerto rican Jew,
a product of the ghettos of new York I have never known.
An immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants.
I speak English with passion: it's the tongue of my consciouness,
a flashing knife blade of cristal, my tool, my craft.

I am Caribeña, island grown. Spanish is my flesh,
Ripples from my tongue, lodges in my hips:
the language of garlic and mangoes,
the singing of poetry, the flying gesture of my hands.
I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent:
I speak from that body.

I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return.
I am not taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.
I am not European. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.

I am new. History made me. My first language was spanglish.
I was born at the crossroads
and I am whole.

-- Aurora Levins Morales

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