Last week, former member of the Young Lords Party Iris Morales came to talk about her life experiences, especially those surrounding her activist life and the creation of her documentary ¡Palante, Siempre Palante! I found myself very inspired by Morales’s career, or rather, multiple careers. She was very warm and honest in her discussions with us before and after the presentation of her film, but more than that she displayed passion. Passion for life and passion for activism.
Morales’s visit sparked discussion about not only equal rights and social activism but for all issues. This made me think about what is seemingly a lack of activism in our country today, and how protests are viewed by the general public today. Really, I wanted to know what sort of actions are being taken by Puerto Rican Independence advocates currently.
In recent years, activist movements have been more silent due to US investigations into known Puerto Rican Independence Party supporters and members. The English version of their website was still being maintained as of last year, but it seems as though some of the movement has died away. This is may be true or it could just be a perception based on limited online sources, I do not know. This is not to say that the tensions are removed. People in Puerto Rico and abroad feel that the commonwealth is being acted upon without consent. Puerto Ricans do not vote in congressional or presidential elections, yet must face the consequences of those results. The Puerto Rican Independence Party’s website includes information about Puerto Rico and their visions for the people.
In the United States at least, people are starting to make noise again. At the beginning of May, activist Dana Block came out from hiding to address these issues along with her personal experience while living an “underground” life in a new book called “Arm the Spirit: A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back.” Every once in a while, murmurings about Puerto Rican independence can be heard, especially around major voting periods. But I think we need to ask, “how will the face of activism for Puerto Rico look in the years to come?”
While not everyone is an activist in this cause, candid interviews with US citizens indicate that there is a significant population that believes Puerto Rico should have its right to independence from the United States.