My Strength and Freedom

When I took this picture, and read Lola Rodriguez story it brought me to tears. This is my family in Puerto Rico these are my Aunts, Cousins, and Grandma. When I saw this picture once again after taking it and reading the Lola Rodriguez story, I noticed my male cousin was in the center of this picture; it bothers me a bit. Not because she is a bad person, but till this day my grandma still believes in the stereotypical household, that one must do everything for their husband and it hurts me. It upsets me, my aunts were raised to think the same way. My grandmother never went to school but I wish she would have been exposed to more women like Lola. My family growing up, were afraid to fight for what was theirs, however Lola’s poetry set so many people free and I wish it got into the hands of my family so they could also be set free. The way Lola feels about Puerto Rico is exactly how I feel so prideful and free, wroth the fight. Mi Isla Del Encanto, I talk about Puerto Rico and my family so much because they motivate me and I hope to one day motivate them.

This is to my legacies – Poem

My legacy of being a Nuyorican

Will not die

You must be a Mulatta

Why did my ancestor have to be questioned?

 

Money buys color

Why did my ancestors need money to be colored?

 

 

Lola Rodriguez de Tió

Fought for me y mi mama

So much devotion

Why did I not know about my ancestors until now?

 

Hay, Pantoja thank you…

For the education of the latinx community

 

 

As I take this pen I write my legacy

So listen to this rhythm of my story

 

De pura sepa!

Ya hear that

But your too dark to be Puerto Rican

Excuse me,

You probably do not even speak spanish

Claro que si.

 

From hate, to being unwanted

But your ignorance is meaningless

because

I am still Puerto Rican

But you are just a girl, a spanish one too!

 

I am college, making your perception of me

Meaningless

I am still that Puerto Rican woman

Long Hair, Caramel Skin

I never hated being in my own skin

 

I love being a leader …

When I walk into a room I am Lola, I am my legacies

And forever will embrace that.

 

 

Behind My Mask

Behind This Mask

Spend a day in Loiza

My blackness is embraced

Full of life and colors

Colorism in my town is not pointed out

I am Loiza, soy Latina

-Menorka

 

I decided to pick this picture because when reading stories within This Bridge Called My Back, I could not put the book down because I related so much to it. This was inspired the poem Chrystos, especially the part that says “Take this mask of bark which keeps out the evil ones”. This stood out to me because in Loiza; the members who can participate in carnivals use these colored mask, but they are not as pleasant. The reason for that from what my grandmother told me the mask was used to scare off evil. Growing up, I have always felt like I had a mask because I was afraid to show I was. However, the more I learned about my culture I embraced that my there are many women like me that also have felt pushed away and not recognized. This book is truly powerful! I love who I am and the mask that I have finally broke.