by Loaiza Rivera
Información Al Desnudo – New York City
I went because I wanted to see and feel for myself the vibe and frequency of my people. Unlike other marches that took place today, this unity march allowed and actually welcomed me and the flag I chose to carry. A special thank you to the people of Los Sures, Brooklyn who sponsored the bus I travelled on and who asked me to be front and center in our group photo when they saw me raise my black flag of resistance.
Yes, it is true that we have so much work to do in order to decolonize our island, our people, and our minds. As an old friend used to say, «We need to change the FREQUENCY of our people». This unity march was the perfect opportunity for that. The energy was ripe for those of a nacionalista mentality like myself to change the dialogue that took place.
But the opportunity was lost because the biggest challenge our people face IS unity! Yes, the Hispanic federation and the Hamilton foundation are not of a nacionalista mentality from what I can tell but at THIS march, there were MANY viewpoints expressed throughout the entire march including both stages. And I am glad to see that the nationalist perspective was at least one of them. But we could have done so much more to turn the tide!!!
I counted 4 other resistance flags – one made of posterboard❤, a fabric one like mine, and one on a t-shirt; there was also one other black resistance flag flown just like mines by William Nogueras – but I know I would have seen 100 more if people knew «where to get one» as countless people asked me. In addition to that, you can see many flags with the original blue. So we can’t say that this march was all for statehood, or that it was all vendepatrias – it wasn’t. It was a relatively accurate representation of our Puerto Rican people – a mixture of people, some lost, some uneducated, many brainwashed, many colonized, and many whose first time it was marching, protesting, and demonstrating. But we ALL showed love, passion, and genuine interest for Puerto Rico and our people which is what really matters.
The question remains, what does it take to unite the Puerto Rican people? What needs to happen for us to stop acting like crabs in a bucket? I have been told that twisted story about the Puerto Rican crabs like 3 or 4 times since hurricane Maria which marked the start of when these newly-inspired «activistas» came out of the woodwork. It mostly goes like this with variations: there’s a fisherman selling crabs in three buckets. Two of them have lids, one doesn’t. Someone asks the fisherman why the first two buckets have lids but the third bucket has no lid and isn’t he worried they’ll escape. The fisherman answers, «The first two are Cuban crabs and Dominican crabs. But the ones without a lid are Puerto Rican crabs. They will never escape because as soon as one reaches the top, the rest pull him down». And this is coming out the mouth of Puerto Ricans at different events I’ve attended!
So is that true? Even among my fellow comrades, I see so much conflict. This inability on a larger scale to accept each other, have an open dialogue, or give each other the chance to express our different sentiments on what will happen with our island.
This year’s boycott of the plebiscite shows us our reality: we rather stay home and angry than come out and vote for independence. Yes, I know that last statement is going to ruffle more than a few feathers, and yes I am very well aware that our vote means nothing until it’s validated by Congress, but it’s the truth. We are spiteful, selfish people, like rats backed into a corner, like crabs in a bucket, like a people suffering from over half a millennium of colonialism and occupation…
So again I ask, let’s imagine we are in a bucket, or better yet to make this analogy clearer, we are on a stranded island, both figuratively and literally, and on this island are all of the 8+ million Puerto Ricans that make up our extended family. How do we work together to build a better island? How do we unite for everyone’s prosperity, safety, well-being, abundance, betterment, and health? How do we talk and learn from each other? How do help each other? How do we overcome the Puerto Rican condition? How do we build a nation?