Describe the work that you do…
I am a community organizer and activist in New York City. For the past 2 years I’ve worked as a housing organizer in the South Bronx, working towards tackling gentrification and displacement. My overall work has been in organizing within the Puerto Rican community, raising awareness around the current conditions of our motherland, as well as within the Puerto Rican community here in the states. I am also an organizer with Comité (Comité Boricua En La Diáspora), which is a radical group of organizers who work and advocate for the liberation of all political prisoners, including Puerto Rican political prisoner Ana Belén Montes. We also organize and advocate for the independence of Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, the liberation of Palestine and all other nations that are oppressed and colonized by imperial forces.
What inspired this work?
I was inspired to do this work after the murders of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. I got involved with BLM (Black Lives Matter), which opened my eyes to the beauty that is African-American history. I remember one day I was sitting with a comrade watching Hidden Colors and I remember looking over to them and saying, “I wonder what our people have contributed to history.” So I turned off the documentary and went on YouTube and typed in “Puerto Rican’s uprising.” The first thing that popped up was Sister Lolita Lebrón and shooting of the House of Representatives. With a flag in one hand and a pistol in the other she yelled, “I did not come to kill anyone, I came to die for Puerto Rico!” Right there I felt whole, I felt proud, I felt dignified, I felt validated, seeing someone fight so passionately for not just a people, but a nation that represents the very fabric of our existence.
From that moment on I started to share what I was learning on Instagram, mainly just because, I never really expected much of it. Little by little people started following me and asking me where did I find this information and why hadn’t they ever heard of it. I started to realize that there were more people like me out there, who were proud to be Boricua, but never knew the history of how we even got here. Knowing that motivated me to do more research, to go deeper and to go where the white man’s textbook never took us. For years I felt lost in this country, just another body contributing to the workforce. Once I learned about our history, it felt like I had a sense of purpose and that our lives are meaningful, full of life, joy, and resistance and more people needed to know that. More people needed to feel dignified enough to stand and fight, even if it just for something as simple as childcare. We as a people have a duty to stand up for our dignity and our rights.
Why are you a proud Puerto Rican?
I’m proud to be Boricua because my grandmother dared to be a proud Afro-Boricua the day she left her motherland in search of a “better life.” I’m proud to be Boricua because of the many brave warriors that fought for our flag, the liberation of our nation and our identity. I’m proud to be Boricua because I don’t know how to be anything less. I’m proud to be a Boricua because of platforms like Boriqua Chicks that unapologetically loves our people and is constantly trying to empower our people.
What song is currently in repeat rotation for you?
Ismael Rivera – Las Tumbas
What book is at the top of your favorite book list?
I’m currently rereading From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia by Carmen Teresa Whalen.
Followed by New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone by Raquel Rivera.
Stay connected with Timothy at the channels below!
My personal/political Instagram account is Nuestra_PatriaPR
My Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/nuestrapatriapr/
Latest posts by Rebecca (see all)
- Meet Yajaira De La Espada, Afro-Latinx Author & Teacher - October 15, 2018
- Where Have You Been, Boriqua Chicks? - September 4, 2018
- 10 Puerto Ricans You Should Know - August 19, 2017