Puerto Rico

What Do We Tell/Show the Children?


Holy winter break batman. When the kids are off from school, I barely have any physical space to myself, let alone mental space to process things out via typed text. In the space I occupy with my daughters, this space between Egypt, Libya, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Algeria and Yemen, I have woken up on many mornings wondering how, what do we tell/show our children about movement(s), justice, and responsibility?

In the space I occupy with my children somewhere between Egypt, Puerto Rico, Libya, Bahrain y Algeria, in the same country as Arizona, Mississippi and Wisconsin, they bear witness from afar. And when I speak of my children, I am not just speaking of my biological daughters but of the community who sit almost daily at my mother’s kitchen table. I read aloud from the news. Pull out maps and point to these places.

My children are movement children. You can ask my mom and sister, who still laugh at the fact that La Mapu’s first full sentence was “No Justice, No peace”. Poroto, has traded in her “si se puedes” for “Egypt, Egypt, Egypt”. La Mapu has taken a renewed interest in one of her patrias, Puerto Rico, one afternoon surprising me by asking aloud from my mother’s living room as she watched cartoons, “how do the liberation struggles in the Middle East translate to the student struggles in Puerto Rico?”

I nearly cried with pride.

While she fought with her sister on the floor of Julia de Burgos in El Barrio, I noted she argued because she wanted to pay attention. She was watching the videos I have been watching and reporting on for months, of Puerto Rican students getting beaten, tear gassed and sexually assaulted. She was paying attention, on her own terms.

I stopped forcing la Mapu to meetings, conferences and rallies as soon as she was old enough to stay a few hours by herself but she can’t escape that this is the world we live in, impacting loved ones, some whom she has met, some whom she knows through their blogs and twitter avatars. Last night, she cried over the dead in Libya and all I could do was hold her.

But what of the children who are left unaware as I was as a child. When I woke up at age 16 and suddenly realized I had been lied to about history and my role in it, I felt angry, betrayed and motivated. My life has never been the same.

I am participating in an event as a story teller in a local museum in a few weeks. The theme is art and activism. How do I talk with children who don’t witness and navigate these spaces on a daily basis or are like those Central Park horses with their eyes fixed on the tiny camino in front of them, blind to the rest of the world around them that they stand in the middle of?

I have never lied to my children about the struggles that exist in this world. Some of them they experience on their own, some of them through my work/life. But what of the children who are shielded? How to hold their hand slowly, open their eyes slowly so they are not afraid but awakened?

That is the question that has been waking me up for weeks.

I welcome answers/suggestions.



Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Avelino Gonzalez Claudio is being held in solitary confinement in MDC Brooklyn and is being denied his Parkinson’s Disease Medication.

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign denounces this torture and is calling on our allies and supporters to join us as protest this injustice!


Picket on Tuesday September 28th, 2010 at 5pm

MDC Brooklyn 80 29th St.

(btwn. 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

Take the R train to 25th St.


For more info. contact The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign:718-601-4751

Y Una Luz Pequena Abre Un Nuevo Camino con Cancion de Paloma


The last few days have been a special kind of hell. Last night, when el chileno dropped off la poroto, and I considered that I might not take care of her, he seemed a little too eager to help in that way, in taking my hija off my hands. Quizas my mother and sister were right with their gut reactions.

Pero all throughout the day, small gifts came in that allowed me to pay towards my electricity and buy food for casa mala. Someone bought me a metrocard so I wouldn’t have to walk everywhere like I have been doing for weeks (even though I actually like the walking). Y despues, ni voy a llamar lo milagro. No porque to call it a miracle doesn’t give it the place it deserves. blessing? Yes, because I feel that we are given signs and people placed in our path and opening new paths for a reason. Every single person and conversation is a lesson in love, giving and receiving it.

For the last two days I have been crying off and on. Trying to put a good face on for las nenas. La Mapu understands all of this a little better and took a break from casa mala and mamita mala stress and stayed with my mom last night, pero I wish she was here. Last night I cried out of relief, joy, gratitude and love.

Familia, yes familia is my blood family. My sister trying to help me find a more sustainable living situation in terms of work and home. My mom trying so hard not to judge and helping me with la mapu. And chosen familia, familia that you meet and instantly fall in love with because their hearts and souls are just so beautiful. So many of you here are my chosen familia. Showing me love and support in ways I was told I didn’t deserve. So thank you.

For now casa mala remains casa mala, with working electricity and a working phone and a working heart that doesn’t feel so beat the fucking down. I still need to figure out long term how I will do this survival game. I still need a more sustainable work, living, childcare situation pero I have some room to just stop and breath.

And I owe some peeps the biggest wedding gift, ever!!!!


because we are still here : Radical WOC in Solidarity with Palestine


I have pedazos de poemas in a notebook for Palestine and Gaza that I haven’t worked through yet because single mami’hood eats away at my time (throw in work and heart issues for good measure).

Gracias a bfp y Nadia for reminding me of this space.

I have been writing about Palestine and Gaza over at VivirLatino, making connections that are real for me because of dear loves of mine and because of the ties that U.S. sponsored colonialism has bred. Pero I have been reminded of how anti-colonialism is a struggle against power and privilege and how my state as a woman of color is seen as not worthy of statehood and no I don’t mean statehood in terms of being a state, as in the 51st state or an independent nation state. I mean a state of being. Women of color in Palestine and in los barrios are not allowed to exist except under specific circumstances, like exist to fear your children being killed or mourning those dead children.

I have a whole unedited essay on fucking statehood and how colonialism makes women of color, killable and fuckable pero I need to edit the personal from the political as it was born from a late night half drunk conversation.

Pero I had a dream last night and my dreams are mensajes from los muertos, los santos y dios and I listened.

I am ready now.

What Mamita Mala Wants


Last week I was honored with the opportunity to speak at the NYC stop of the This is What Women Want tour.


I had written and chosen my words carefully and well and was nervous pero happy with the reception. I wasn’t ready however to see a woman I admired, a woman whom represents so much of my own struggles as a Puerto Rican woman. I thought I saw her before I entered the theatre where I would be speaking, pero I wasn’t really sure till I was up on stage, all nervous and energized. I knew it was her by all the places she applauded at: at my mention of Richie and of Puerto Rico. You can hear her bracelets moving in the video above. And after my speech, as I stepped down , she was there, with open arms to embrace me. I couldn’t help but cry.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked.
“Of course” I said
She was Dylcia Pagan, former political prisoner, always Rican freedom fighter.

Mamita Mala wants to keep working for freedom.