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


3 Responses to “I am an American Boricua…”

  1. Elizabeth February 15, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Your strength is an inspiration to all of us. I’m proud to know you and inspired by your decision affect positive change in the world! We can all use a little more of that!

  2. KCLAnderson (Karen) February 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Even though I only met you briefly at Elizabeth’s house last October, I’ve been drawn to you and your passionate presence via Facebook. Now that I’ve had a glimpse into your story, I know why…

    Thank you for being willing to be a positive, strong voice…

  3. Joan Reilly-Rosa February 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Very passionate, genuine and inspiring! Wishing you well with this enormous endeavor!

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