Equal Voting Rights for Puerto Rico Petition Update…

16 Jan



One year ago, I launched this petition (link above) on MLK’s birthday because I believe he’d agree that any legal American citizen should have the exact same voting rights. Further, I think he would define the current equal voting rights ban that disenfranchises the residents of Puerto Rico (a territory of the United States) as a Civil Rights issue. 

Perhaps he would even agree with me that – because the 23rd Amendment was passed in 1961 (in part) as an acknowledgement that the residents of D.C. were being marginalized (stated by historian, Clement E. Vose, when he said “various factors… residency requirements and social ostracism before the Voting Rights Act of 1965—minimized black registration and voting.”) – that the time has come for our legal Puerto Rican citizens (part of our nation’s largest minority group) to be similarly empowered via another Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

When I launched my petition 366 days ago, I symbolically set my one year goal at 2,800 signatures to correlate with the proposed idea of a 28th Amendment movement; urgently requesting that the U.S. Congress debate this issue. Since then, my campaign has exceeded it’s goal; garnering signatures from people all over the world disappointed in this aspect of our American democracy.

And, to be clear, I’ve said all along that I believe this voter disenfranchisement injustice pertaining to the residents of Puerto Rico is separate and apart from the issue of status (statehood) for the island. Furthermore, the current voting ban of legal American citizens continues to be a stain on our nation’s democratic principles. Surely, our U.S. system of government can resolve this problem without the involvement of the United Nations (where legal action has been sought). 

Motivated by change agents in our nation’s history like Martin Luther King Jr., I’ll now move to the second phase of my 28th Amendment campaign, which will be to deliver this petition to the President of the United States, members of Congress, the United Nations and to all groups, individuals and organizations connected to my efforts herein.

I welcome your support and encourage you to contact me at NEWYORICANGIRL.COM if you’d like to join me in this voting equality movement which, I am certain, is one of my Hispanic community’s most important Civil Rights issues of our time.

Let us work together to empower our fellow Americans with equal voting rights, regardless of which patch of U.S. soil they live on. Many around the world monitor our democracy in action and do not understand why any of our legal citizens are denied the same voting rights that you and I take for granted.

We must do better because our children want to believe that America stands for liberty and justice for ALL.


Conquering my Fears…

31 Dec

Newyoricangirl PR Earrings 2

In 2013, I pushed my luck and I lived. I stared down my deepest fears and didn’t back down. I shared my vulnerability with strangers and they embraced me. I took so many risks that I exhausted myself to the brink of disaster. But I’m still standing and – because I survived – I thrived. I looked the boogeyman straight in the eye and he blinked first; leaving me victorious and free.

In these past 365 days, I finally found the confidence to write down my life story of trauma and triumph so I could help others and myself heal. Upon hearing of the dramatic escape of the Cleveland Kidnapping victims after 10 years of torture, I felt compelled to reach out to the family of victim, Gina DeJesus because she was a child when  abducted just like what happened to me. “There but for the grace of God go I” I thought, when realizing I’d been lucky that my rapist chose to release me. As I risked my safety and sanity by paying a visit to her family to offer my support, I did so to show my gratitude to God for saving my life. 

I also survived the PTSD episodes and flashbacks while writing and publishing my harrowing real-life story once and for all. For years, I’d been so afraid to confront the trauma and tragedies on the page, for fear that the memories themselves would kill me. But they didn’t. I dug deep and purged the emotional bile so I could finally take a deep and cleansing breath. What a gift it has been to have received cherished affirmations for my prose and determination. 

I even found the courage this year to fly in a helicopter over Ground Zero as my way of finally moving on after my hellish 9/11 experience when I was trapped in Manhattan, separated from my family on that fateful day. As I boarded the chopper with my sons and husband there to hold me, I shed a tear for those we lost and for the new me I’d found. 

Peace & Love,







20 Dec

NEWYORICANGIRL here reppin’ my work in the media, in politics and in advocating for trauma survivors everywhere. Please spread the word and the love. Peace out.  2013


“Latino or Hispanic?” Conversation on Huff Post Live featuring NEWYORICANGIRL…

15 Oct

Huff Post Live segment, “Latino or Hispanic?”

Today – on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 – Huff Post Live invited me to be a featured panelist in this important conversation about how my community is defining itself. It was tough taking on this very complicated issue during our 25 minute segment, but kudos to our friends at Huff Post Live for creating greater awareness around this topic. NEWYORICANGIRL

NYG on HPL Hispanic or Latino







NEWYORICANGIRL’s book chosen as “10 Great Reads in Hispanic Literature” by Latinas for Latino Literature!

11 Oct

NEWYORICANGIRL’s Book Featured as “10 Great Reads in Hispanic Literature”

Muchas gracias to my Latina brethren for including my book amongst these Hispanic superstar authors! Your support of my work is a dream come true. I thank you from the bottom of my Boricua heart and am brimming with Hispanic pride. NEWYORICANGIRL

Latinas for Latino Lit

NEWYORICANGIRL advocates for equal voting rights for Puerto Rico in her new book…

30 Sep

New Yorican Girl Word Press

When the President of the United States won his second term in office in 2012, he

promised again that immigration reform would be at the top of his agenda.

It was then that I understood it was now or never for my 28th Amendment

petition campaign. Strongly believing that if the president truly wanted to

champion all Hispanics, then surely he could no longer allow the

disenfranchisement of the more than 2 million eligible voters in Puerto Rico –

legal Hispanic American citizens – from equal voting rights at the same time

that he was vowing to solve the nation’s illegal immigration crisis.


I also felt like I was running out of time because my cousin, Jesus, the

one who’d inspired the petition and had become like a father to me, was

going to be ninety years old soon. All he wanted was to vote just one time in

the real election for the president of his country before he made his way to

Heaven. Sure, his country allowed him to vote in presidential primaries, but

what sense did that make if he remained banned from casting a vote in the

general election when it really mattered?


If the U.S. Congress had found a way to pass the 23rd Amendment giving the

residents of Washington, D.C. (citizens not living in a viable state of the Union) the

right to vote for the President of the United States, well then, why hadn’t this

same inclusive logic been considered – at least, debated - for the benefit of our

fellow legal Hispanic Americans living in Puerto Rico? 


NEWYORICANGIRL writes about her childhood rape and abduction in her book…

29 Sep

Back to the scene of the crime #2 9-22-09

(The scene of my abduction and rape when I was 9 years old.)


I am a virginal nine-year-old little girl and he is looming over me, planting

his feet on the cement so I cannot get past him. It is just before 4 o’clock

in the aft ernoon on an ordinary school day and the sun is out. I’m on a

wide sidewalk just around the corner from my doorman building in one

of New York City’s safest neighborhoods. But still, I can tell I’m in serious



His hair is greasy and his eyes are ugly. He is wearing a black leather

jacket and he looks tough. When he begins talking to me, I can tell he is a

liar and is using a pretend voice like the one the big bad wolf in Little Red

Riding Hood used.


He tells me he is a police officer who needs my “help finding an old lady’s

dog.” Inside, my gut is screaming at me, “Run! Run!! Get away from him!!!”

But, I cannot because I am a good girl, raised by adults who have never given

me permission to challenge the command of an adult.


I silence my frantic inner voice, as he snatches my small hand and

puts it in his while forcing me to cross the street. I had not expected to be

led away in a fl esh handcuff and so now I am sure he is stealing me and I

will die.


On the southern side of this block there is a row of matching pre-war

buildings, just a football field away from my guarded apartment fortress that

is still in my sight. I keep turning my head back, hoping that a real police

officer or any grown up will notice what is happening to me. My panic is

rising with each step we take because I know my safety is fleeting the further

away I am taken.


In shock, my mind feels like scrambled eggs being whipped into

submission and I can tell my psyche is being broken like an egg. I don’t know

where he is abducting me to, at the same time that I am trying to memorize

the route so I might have a chance to escape.


My hand remains invisibly welded to his, as he takes me down a flight

of steel stairs leading to the building’s basement. My eyes are blinking too

fast and my stomach is internally vomiting with fear…



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