Maria Judith Colon Ramirez—International Liberation Reference Person for People of Puerto Rican Heritage

I want to know how many Puerto Ricans are here. Will you raise your hands? Go Puerto Ricans! (cheering, clapping) Okay. Next question, how many of you know a Puerto Rican? At least one. All right. You know me. You know at least one. I just want to say that we are eight million Puerto Ricans, four million living in the Island and four million living outside the island. What I want to say is that Puerto Ricans are all over the United States and all over the world, so you are meant to bump into one of us. Puerto Rico was a colony, was colonized by Spain ninety years ago. It was colonized, not discovered. When they got there the Taíno Indians were there. I like to say that colonization is the biggest manifestation of racism.

As allies to Puerto Ricans we have to remember that Puerto Ricans need to discharge the effects of colonialism—being left feeling unimportant, insignificant, unintelligent, stupid, not knowing enough. That’s the internalized oppression. I am a clear example of that—I have been fighting hard to break through the internalized oppression to lead Puerto Ricans. Because I have had this position, I have had to put myself in the center, to face all my internalized oppression. I feel that I have, that it’s a triumph. We all could do that—help Puerto Ricans fight the internalized oppression and the recordings of genocide. All those recordings of the internalized oppression are untrue. We are wonderful, intelligent, powerful, loving, warm people. So whenever you have a Puerto Rican in front of you, you get to remember that.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00