Monday, October 3, 2022

Puerto Rico and Hurricanes: More Colonized AND More Determined than Ever Before

One week ago, Hurricane Fiona struck another devastating blow to the people and island of Puerto Rico. The island is not anywhere close to having recovered from the catastrophe caused by the 2017 Hurricane Maria, not to mention from the horrors and devastation of US colonization since 1898, and Spain before. To give some background to the impacts of Hurricane Fiona, listen to the following excerpt from the Colectivo Ile statement following Fiona: “Since Hurricane María in 2017… We have endured insults in our most vulnerable moment, discriminatory policies by FEMA at our time of greatest need, and sleazy contractors and speculators promising solutions that were never delivered. Poverty in the Island has been exacerbated while people are being displaced by gentrifiers disguised as liberals and progressives. Our own colonial government could not even acknowledge the loss of more than 3,000 lives caused by the hurricane and agencies’ inaction, nor did they lead us through any process of national grieving. Our people were left defenceless and without hope that an elected government could detain the waves of corruption that followed.” My guest today is Maria Reinat-Pumarejo, a long-time feminist, anti-racist, anti-oppression organizer and the Founder of Colectivo Ilé, an organization committed to anti-oppression organizing in Puerto Rico. She also has been my feminist sister in the struggle against US militarism and US bases. Most impressive to me is that her work and organizing are always rooted in her love of life. To listen, Places to Donate 1. Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos – refugio de mujeres, violencia de género 2. Comuna Caribe – anti capitalism/patriarcado/supremacía blanca/colonialismo abogacía y derechos de inmigrantes ATH Móvil +1 (787) 484-3523 indicar en la nota: “Donativo Recuperación Fiona” 3. Espicy Nipples – transfeminist media 4. La Goyco – vecinos de Machuchal y la Calle Loíza construcción de sus comunidades, iniciativas culturales y de salud, Santurce 5. La Conde – Parceleras Afrocaribeñas para la Transformación Barrial (Patba), Saint Just, Trujillo Alto/ trabajo comunitario, cultural, educativo/restauración/arte/equidad 6. El Hangar – LGBTQA+, transformación social y cultural, arte como herramienta educativa, Santurce ATH Móvil: 787-245-1274 PayPal: 7. Colectivo Umoja –proyecto de investigación ciudadana con sabor a bomba, servicio comunitario/ distribución de artículos de primera necesidad PayPal: 8. Colmena Cimarrona – soberanía alimentaria, siembra, ecología, Vieques 9. Mujeres de Isla – Desarrollo sostenible, coordinación y agente unificador de esfuerzos dirigidos a la Isla de Culebra 10. El Ancón – Preservación cultural, gestores culturales, desarrollo comunitario, antirracismo, Loíza 11. PAYE – comedor comunitario/seguridad alimenticia, Piñones 12. Colectivo Ilé – trabajo antirracista y decolonial en PR Biography María Reinat-Pumarejo is an organizer and Founder of Colectivo Ilé, an organization committed to anti-oppression organizing in Puerto Rico. She co-developed and is a senior trainer of Cambio Integral's Latino Challenges Toward Racial Justice workshop, and was for almost three decades a trainer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. An anti-racist educator, organizer and a women’s advocate, María has work with women’s organizations in Puerto Rico and internationally to support and join the leadership of other women of color. For her anti-racism work and social transformation solidarity, as part of 1000 Women for Peace, she was nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, which was collectively awarded the City of Guernica 2006 Award for Peace and Reconciliation. She has conceived and coordinated women’s initiatives such as África en mi piel, África en mi ser: si no la llevas en la piel, la llevas en el ser (Africa on my skin, Africa in my soul), an anti-racist leadership process for women in Puerto Rico, el Censo dice que somos blancos, y abuela ¿qué dice? (the Census says we are white and grandma, what does she says?); and the US campaign Don’t be eRACEd by the Census: Black, Brown or Light, Latin@s/Raza just ain’t white, dealing with the changing definition of race in the United States and the negative impact to Latinx people in the US. In 2016 she received the Martin Luther King medal from La Mesa de Diálogo Martin Luther King for her Anti-Racist work. With a background in education, counseling and history, María is co-author of Arrancando mitos de raíz: guía para la enseñanza antirracista de la herencia africana en Puerto Rico, (Uprooting Myths: A Guide for the Anti-Racist Teaching of Puerto Rico’s African Heritage), a contributing author to several books such as Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora, and articles addressing racism and decoloniality.

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