In early December of 2016, our team at Mijente held our second national conference called Lánzate–a gathering of hundreds of Latinx leaders, organizers, artists and changemakers working on a variety of different social justice issues across the U.S. We held this conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico; in barrio Santurce, to be precise, at the ‘Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico.’
We headed to Puerto Rico because as Mijente Director, Marisa Franco, said, “…there is a crisis occurring on the island of historic proportions…and as Boricuas across the diaspora are standing up and fighting back, the broader Latinx community has an opportunity and a duty to show up and throw down.” We believed and continue to believe that the economic crisis on the island should be a front line issue for our broader Latinx communities here in the states. We are excited to know that work is continuing to grow and that Boricuas across the diaspora are leading that charge.
On June 15th, as part of the Allied Media Conference (AMC) held annually in Detroit, a group of artist and organizers are holding the Detroit/Puerto Rico Solidarity Exchange Network Gathering: a historical convening that came out of conversations folks had while attending the 2016 AMC and seeks to connect Boricua organizers with organizers in Detroit. The passing of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) has been the latest manifestation of colonization on the island at the hands of the U.S. that is being masked as viable solution to Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt. The PROMESA bill has put in place a fiscal control board made up of 7 U.S. appointed officials–with no involvement of the Puerto Rican people–who now have decision-making power over the economy in P.R.
It is precisely for this reason that over 70 Puerto Rican activists are heading to Motor City for the AMC.
“We recognize the importance of sharing information about what is happening in Puerto Rico now and what we need to do to support efforts that promote self-determination. A central challenge is the lack of information, reporting, or analysis available in the US. The analysis, if available at all, usually centers the interests of Wall Street and offers a skewed and incomplete narrative of the colonial crisis.”
-Teresa Basilio, one of the organizers of the gathering
As it states on their website, organizers are hoping to “draw connections between the fight against the appointments of Emergency Managers [Detroit] and PROMESA Oversight Board and the creative interventions rooted in self-determination by grassroots communities in Michigan, Puerto Rico and in the Diaspora.” There are many movement and organizing lessons to learn from Detroit and Puerto Rico and here at Mijente we are so excited to soak in the magic that is bound to be this historical gathering.
To learn more about PROMESA and the economic crisis in Puerto Rico. Check out this great and helpful bilingual guidebook:
To learn more about the connections between the financial crises in both Detroit and Puerto Rico, check out this great political education tool: