4/40 Abandono

A blurry photograph of a woman wearing a black t shirt with a black and white image of the Puerto Rican flag. Her head is down. Her hands are folded in front of her. She is on a stage wearing a black skirt and heels

Yesterday some worker members from the organization I am lucky enough to work at participated in a dramatized reading. The presentation was about women, loss, and migration. The loss of women through migration and variations on a theme.

There was one scene in the play, where according to my interpretation, there seemed to be blame placed on women for migrating. Blame for leaving their children, blame for leaving their patrias. The word “abandono” was used. Migrant women abandon their children. Abandon their homelands. They are neglectful. Willful. Selfish even.

Usually this type of framing would anger, no enrage me.

Yesterday it just made me cry.

I had already spent most of the morning crying and being enraged. I made the mistake of looking at twitter as soon as I woke up and read the President call, in an off handed way, Puerto Ricans lazy and ungrateful.

It became clear to me that the President of the United States wants Puerto Ricans to die.

It became clear to me that the United States wants Puerto Ricans to die and those too stubborn to die will be forced to abandon the island, leaving vulnerable to re-population and development by anyone besides Puerto Ricans.

And I didn’t know what to do with that.

My grandparents didn’t exactly abandon Puerto Rico. Post New Deal my grandparents sent my mother to live with an aunt in New York. My mother was about 7. My father came later, when he was in high school, with his parents. To date they have never lived in Puerto Rico again.

I have never lived in Puerto Rico.

I worry that I will never live in Puerto Rico.

My younger daughter visited Puerto Rico for the first time a few months back. She camped in Culebra.

I have never been to Columbus Landing, Mayaguez where my mother was born.

I have never been to Cruces, Rincon where my Grandfather is from.

The area in Vega Baja where my paternal grandfather is buried – where I have visited, is underwater according the internet.

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