Archive | September, 2013

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…


BOOK BONUS from “NEWYORICANGIRL…Surviving my Spanglish Life”

27 Sep


CHAPTER #2: “SPIC & SPANGLISH in the Bronx…”

Graffiti, broken glass, heroin needles and the smell of urine is everywhere in

this urban jungle my tribe is claiming as their American dream. In reality,

our low-income housing Projects are amongst the most dangerous ghettos

in New York City in 1964. There I am, in the back bedroom of our first floor

apartment as another scary night in the Bronx begins.


I am three years old and trying to fall asleep in this room  I’m sharing

with my younger sister and two cousins. It’s dark outside our window and

the shades are up. I look out the window and there is a man – a peeping

Juan – staring at me.


I scream! Suddenly, lights are urgently flickered on by one of my “Titi”

aunts. She yells for her macho brothers. Seconds later, Uncle Batman and

Uncle Robin are lunging past me, flying out of the window to go kill the bad

guy. Th is is my very first memory of my childhood spent in the ‘hood.


While that mythical movie, “West Side Story,” does it’s best to portray

how tough our Puerto Rican lives were, even that version glosses over

just how bad it was for my grandparents when they arrived in 1943. There

weren’t any ESL classes or telephone options like, “for Spanish, press #2,”

when they relocated from Aguada, Puerto Rico to “nu-jork-ciddy.”


My mother and her six younger siblings got their asses kicked and

suffered through the humiliation of eviction, as they sat on the street curb

for all their neighbors to see. Aft er my grandfather abandoned his wife and

kids, Abuela Juana had no choice but to move into public housing – the

Projects – in the South Bronx.


Every day there seemed like another day at the firehouse, with one

emergency after another and no time to breathe in between. I remember

the fights, the knives, the blood, the pedophiles and the unrelenting fear.

By the time I was six years old, I’d seen and heard more violence than any

child should.


Like that time when my babysitter took me over to her house and we

walked in just as her dad was chasing his wife with a butcher knife. As she

threw me under a desk to protect me, I remember almost shitting my pants

and to this day, I am still nervous around knives.


I spent my days with Abuela Juana, watching her cook our Puerto Rican

cuisine with the smell of arroz con pollo, platinos or pasteles waft ing through

our apartment. My mom and her brothers and sisters were constantly coming

and going and smoking and cursing and always making too much noise at



The day time was always quieter, as Abuela Juana and I would get

on our hands and knees together to wax the floors because she believed

in keeping a clean casa. Other days, the highlight of our day would be

standing on the welfare line while we waited for our rations of peanut

butter and five-pound blocks of American cheese. There were always the

candles to light at church, while she was teaching me to pray to God. She

also taught me to help my community, to be polite and prudish and to

always be superstitious.


Abuela Juana got more nervous as night time approached and so I would

too. If we weren’t watching the evening news to scan the list of Americans

killed in Vietnam so we’d know if my Uncle Batman was dead, you might

find us huddled together in our building’s stinky staircase when we’d seen

or heard something scary after she’d asked me to call the police.


When I was around five, I remember her asking me to call 9-1-1 instead

of her because she said my English was better than hers. “Help us, por favor!”

I said to the NYPD on the phone. “We heard screaming and gunshots. Please

hurry! We’re scared…”

NEWYORICANGIRL’s Birthday Countdown! Celebrates with daily excerpts from her new book!

26 Sep

Julia and her parents


CHAPTER #1: “The Hermit, the Harlot & Me”


He was born with only one testicle and she was chronically ill as a child.

So, I guess I’m lucky to be alive. He moved to New York City from Puerto

Rico when he was eight and forever missed the island, while she came from

P.R. too, but never looked back. They were both high school dropouts who

smoked too many cigarett es, each belonging to large and loud Catholic

families living in urban poverty and chaos. 


The hermit met his harlot one night at a party he didn’t want to be at.

She noticed him first and cast her spell from across the room. He was barely

twenty and she was only eighteen when they got married at a big church in

the South Bronx in 1959.  The harlot wasn’t a virgin, but at least she wasn’t

pregnant like many of the young girls on her block.


They honeymooned in D.C. for a couple of days before the hermit

had to return to his base as a Marine. He’d convinced his harlot that a

dutiful Puerto Rican wife is supposed to follow her husband anywhere.

So, there they were, living in a cramped tin can trailer,  launching their

Semper Fi life.


Eighteen months and many fights later, they’d managed to make a baby

and so along I came, crowned as the first grandchild on my mother’s side.

The reception on my father’s side was not as welcoming. 


In a futile attempt to gain favor with his madre,  my father named me after

his mother, even though he knew my mom despised her mother-in-law.



His madre’s dislike of the harlot was well known too. Maybe that’s why the

woman spent her life ignoring me to the point that all I remember about her

was the mole on her face.


A few months later, the hermit was away too much while practicing his

cold war military exercises. He loved the military life and wanted to make it

his career even though his harlot wife felt trapped in her stereotypical P.R.

life. She’d grown tired of her macho husband who dictated her every move

and always demanded that she obey.


So, family folklore has it that the night he came home and confessed he’d

had sex with a prostitute during the Bay of Pigs invasion, his harlot cracked

the hermit’s shell forever. He begged forgiveness, but the harlot used his

confession as the excuse she needed to escape their sardine trailer and get

back to the Bronx…


25 Sep

Governor's Mansion - La Fortaleza

Petition for Equal Voting Rights for Puerto Rico

As we celebrate our nation’s democracy and the values we hold dear as Americans, I remain convinced that our U.S. Constitution can withstand the inclusion of ALL of our legal citizens seeking full voting rights. Yet, any American living in Puerto Rico who chooses to claim residency there is automatically banned from voting for their own President of the United States – Hispanic or not. Please remember this the next time you are reciting our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance which states “with Liberty & Justice for ALL.” Help me send a message to Congress that the time has come to enfranchise your fellow Americans so that we can truly be the best example of democracy all throughout the world. NEWYORICANGIRL

NEWYORICANGIRL (Birthday Girl!) shares excerpts from her new book…

25 Sep

IMG_8570 Julia Book Launch EventTo celebrate my upcoming birthday, I’ve decided to share excerpts from my book all week! Tis’ always better to give than receive! Please let me know what you think! Peace out. NEWYORICANGIRL

Book Excerpt #1 from “NEWYORICANGIRL…Surviving my Spanglish Life”


As I pleaded with the NYPD officer to honor my press pass so I could get

inside the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the traumatic memory of the guy who

raped me while pretending to be a police officer flashed by mercifully quick.

Thank God I’d seen a doctor to treat my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,

I said to myself, especially since I knew what would happen next. Sure

enough, my wounded brain then switched to the memory of being on this

exact street on 9/11, that day when I didn’t know if I would live or die…


15 Sep

NBC Latino features NEWYORICANGIRL’S book…

I’m so grateful to NBC Latino for featuring information about my book. This coverage will help me reach more people in need of my support and advocacy. Please contact me if I can help you with your healing. Peace be with you. NEWYORICANGIRL

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