Archive | February, 2012

Bicultural Language Lamenting…

26 Feb

My Boricua Dad just called me to tell me his cancer is in remission. While I listened to his good news, I was also especially keen on listening to the melody of his Spanish accent. Oh how I wish I could turn back time to reclaim the 17 years my wannabe-American mother forbade me to see him, to even talk to him. I wonder how my Newyorican life would have been different if he’d been more present in my life. I’m sure I would know more of my native language, given that Papi runs a Spanish language home. What a gaping wound it still is to not have command of my people’s native tongue. No matter how hard I try – classroom settings with Gringos, hundreds of dollars spent on Rosetta Stone – I’ve come to accept that my Spanish language skills will never be what they should have been. For now, at least I’ll have my Dad a little bit longer to listen to and soothe me.

Fox News reports Puerto Ricans outraged by CNN debate…

24 Feb

In my last post I mentioned how annoyed I was with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for glazing over a question posed regarding the statehood question for Puerto Rico during last month’s Republican debate in Florida . Glad to see I’m not alone. While it shouldn’t surprise any of us that this news story was filed by Fox News (the conservative news outlet and major CNN competitor), it may surprise you to find out that the political parties in Puerto Rico do not correlate with the American 2 party system. Rather, in P.R. the political parties are based on their position regarding statehood. Thus, the fact that the current Governor of Puerto Rico is pro-statehood defines him as a Republican in the eyes of Puerto Ricans living on the island, regardless of his position on any other political issues.

So, when Puerto Ricans tuned in to watch the Republican CNN debate in Florida, we figured the statehood question was a pretty big deal especially given the island’s current leader and the upcoming statehood referendum in November. To watch CNN’s Wolf Blitzer rudely minimize the posed question was truly insulting to more than 8 million U.S. citizens, especially while Puerto Ricans politely watch the Illegal Immigration issue rehashed at almost every single debate. NEWYORICANGIRL asks this question…how can our country fix our broken immigration system, while the media continues to ignore the essential question of what to do about Puerto Rico’s status and, while the U.S. Congress continues to ban its own citizens from voting for their own President of these great United States? Check out the Fox News article below…

Fox News reports Puerto Ricans outraged by CNN debate…

Will the Hispanic Vote decide the 2012 Election?

22 Feb

La Fortaleza (the Governor's Mansion in Puerto Rico) up for grabs in the 2012 election cycle.

Kudos to Time Magazine for their upcoming cover story (featured below) which offers analysis regarding the influence that Hispanic voters will have in the upcoming election for President. The lead article in this link speculates about Arizona’s Latinos determining the election and (as someone who’s lived there) I can say I don’t believe this will be the case. As I’ve mentioned, my Hispanic community includes 20+ nations (while lumping Puerto Rican American citizens in that mix). So, with regards to Arizona’s majority Mexican population, I just don’t think the state offers enough Latino variety to be a bellwether state. It’s my trained political opinion that the dominant Hispanic communities care deeply about very different issues. Mexicans are strongly tied to the immigration issue, Cubans are concerned about the changing U.S. policies related to Fidel Castro, while Puerto Ricans here on the mainland are focused on Jobs, Healthcare and the upcoming statehood referendum being voted on in Puerto Rico on the same day our nation will pick our next President. Given that Puerto Rico’s Governor, Luis Fortuno (some say, a distant VP contender) will be running for re-election on November 6th, turnout for the status referendum should be very high.

Frankly, it surprises me that more Americans aren’t aware of what could be a nation-changing vote to add a 51st state to our Union on that same election day. More importantly, I find it irritating that the Republican nominees for President keep being asked about immigration but not about their opinion on Puerto Rico’s potential to shake up Congress should our citizens there vote for statehood. A related question was raised by a viewer during a CNN debate in Florida, only to have moderator, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, marginalize the response time dedicated to discussing the issue. So, while I appreciate Time Magazine’s effort to educate the country about the Hispanic vote, I hope they – and other segments of the Time Warner media family –  dedicate future ink and coverage to the quagmire that is the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. More about that soon. NEWYORICANGIRL


I am an American Boricua…

14 Feb

As an award-winning reporter, former corporate executive and a Puerto Rican girl from the South Bronx, I’ve worked hard to be a change agent for Hispanics. Knowing I beat the odds to become the first college graduate in my family despite my violent and traumatic childhood, I now want to share my story in an effort to help others.  Rape, welfare, molestation, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug use and dealing, prison and rehab were all things I witnessed or experienced by the time I was 10 years old.  My parent’s brutal divorce when I was two pitted my wanna-be-American madre against my prideful Boricua dad and left me with a confused sense of my identity.  Further, my mom’s decision to have me forcibly adopted by a stepfather from another religion & culture, stripped me overnight of my Spanish surname and immediately threw me into arenas where I was the only Puerto Rican.  My assimilation journey has been fraught with a painful walk on this tightrope of my life; at once trying to be Puerto Rican enough for my Boricua family and yet, knowing in my heart that I love being an assimilated American just as much.  Because I believe I’m not the only person traversing between two distinctly different cultures, this website is for you.

More than once, I’ve been the first Latina elected to a prestigious Board and served as the token Hispanic, always taking every opportunity to educate my non-Hispanic peers, while simultaneously propping open the door for other minorities seeking a spot at the table.  I have the scars to prove that breaking the glass ceiling is an injurious and isolating experience.  As a graduate of four leadership programs, I’ve worked hard every time to eradicate the stereotypical perceptions of who I am as a Puerto Rican American woman.  I’ve been appointed by former Governors, studied the political process at length and have met many members of Congress – always anxiously aware that my words and actions would influence what others thought of my Hispanic community.  Given these experiences, I want to help foster the dialogue that urgently need to take place given that Hispanics are now the country’s largest (and youngest) minority group. Specifically, issues related to Puerto Rico (where my people continue to struggle with the statehood question and whose residents are still banned from voting for their own Commander in Chief), need further analysis given that Puerto Ricans are the only Hispanic group granted U.S. citizenship at birth.  Further, the complexities of our nation’s Hispanic tapestry (comprised of 20+ countries all lumped into one category within the U. S. Census) is a political land mine; requiring increased conversation and education to better understand my community as a whole.  For those who want to better understand who we are as Hispanics, this website is for you.

I’m also creating this interactive website  in an effort to advocate for a better future for our nation’s youth, Hispanic or otherwise, who struggle with assimilation and similar traumas I’ve experienced including being in New York City on 9/11.  As a survivor, I now speak openly about my subsequent PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) diagnosis – a culminating result of the trauma of that day and the violence I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand.  Regardless of age or culture, I want to reach out to fellow victims of rape, abuse and PTSD.  I’ve lived through these nightmares and am passionate about advocating for our healing and recovery.  I’ve learned that a safe place to discuss your trauma and to ultimately face your fears, is an essential step towards healing.  Be sure to check out the related resources here on my website. I’m committed to helping related organizations and victims in all capacities – as an inspirational speaker, a consultant or a mentor – and encourage you to contact me if I can be of any assistance.  For those of you who are survivors of trauma, this website is for you.

Finally, you’ll also find information about the book I’m writing called “NEWYORICANGIRL,” samples of my media reporting and – because I believe in the power of the visual image  (to soothe, to teach and to spark universal emotions) – I hope you’ll enjoy my photo boutique. Thank you for visiting. I’d be honored to have you sign up to receive future postings. Peace be with you. NEWYORICANGIRL

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