Back in Vieques
Hermanas - after a hiatus from here due to having started law school (yeah!!) I wanted to share some brief notes on my recent trip back to Vieques, Puerto Rico. For those unfamiliar with Vieques it is a little island off east coast of Puerto Rico but is part of Puerto Rico. For 60 years up until 2001, the US Navy used 3/4 of the island as a practice range for bombs, resulting not only in the eventual death of a civilian but higher cancer rates from the amounts of radiation that have infected the waters and environment. After immense demonstrations and protests over the years, the Navy finally decided to leave the island in 2001 amid great pressure, but promised a plan for economic development (they were the main employer on the island) and extensive environmental cleanup - most of which have not been fully adhered to (for both aspects).
I hadn't been in a few years and went back this year after a great yearning and desire to be there. It was amazing to see again the spirit and humility of the Viequenses and how the simplicity of their life, their dignity and their values serves as a great reminder to me of what's really important in life. To be among them, among myself and my people, was comforting to the soul. The quiet resilience that's left after the loud cries of resistance that dominated the little island for so long showed me the innate strength that is ours as humans - the ability to resist the extermination of a people and their way of life in so many subtle ways.
I'm back now and that means back to law school so that I can come prepared with yet another tool to use in our global construction project of rebuilding our global conscience about women and what we're capable of. Los Viequenses me han ensenado que quiere decir ser activista de verdad.