Growing up, I lived in a community in Brooklyn called Little Puerto Rico. On a side note, I’m reading a wonderful book right now that is basically a biopic of my experience in Brooklyn as a little girl: “When We Make It” by Elisabet Velasquez. Knickerbocker Ave. Marc Anthony. Bushwick. The bodegas. Caribbean Spanish everywhere. Music–Morning/Noon/Night. Block parties. Pasteles. Navidad. ¡Que bonita bandera!—> I learned so much from my neighbors and neighborhood growing up, that I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. I also learned to love Puerto Rico with the same fiery fervor as my best friends. That’s why I have such a close bond with Puerto Rico, tracking its struggles and triumphs very closely. And I use my platform to help educate students about the beauty and complexities of the Isla del Encanto (as well as the Caribbean in general).
When Hurricane María hit in 2017, I was devastated. I had just visited the island for the first time a few months prior and adored my experience. It felt like home. The culture. The music. The food. The infinite shades of brown skin tones. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.
But the pictures post-María told a different story. It told a story of despair. Sadness. Pa’lante, sí, pero, con dolor. Inspired, I made a cultural Webquest to pay tribute to Puerto Rico. See below. This might be a great resource for your class–you can assign it individually, as groups, or as stations. Click HERE or on the image below.
Now that Fiona has ripped through the island 5 years later–an island that was already in a precarious position given the pandemic and several natural disasters–I felt the need to make a new resource where my students could learn about Puerto Rico’s past AND present. You know, Puerto Rico’s struggles are the result of many complexities, with some people citing the end of 90’s business tax breaks being the start of the downfall (see “A Deeper Look at Puerto Rico“). The below resource comes with a Google Form Quiz as an assessment that you can use in class. Click HERE or on the image below to learn more.
I hope that you enjoy these resources, which would pair beautifully together. Puerto Rico. ¡Pa’lante!
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