di·as·po·ra noun: diaspora the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
Diasporican- A community that has been migrating since the 1900's in search of a better life for their family, starting with Hawaii, New York and California. A proud ethnic group that strives for success wherever they are and keeps their culture alive to pass on to younger generations.
A few minutes after our Una Voz meeting concluded, someone said, "We need a group: a support group." This played in my head over and over because there was something about it that felt like a cry for help- something that came from el alma.
A few months after that, I called in a meeting with a group that I knew shared my passion and inquisitive nature to connect; especially if it was about heritage and ethnicity.
Our unique diasporas united us and we knew we had a mission: to help others connect with their own backgrounds.
And so Cafecito Hub was born from the need to connect and share our stories and feel accepted and like home. For me, each culture has their own Cafecito- not just the cup of coffee but what it represents. That time you set aside to sit down with a friend; it's almost like time stops and your main focus is on connections, emotions and savoring that warm cup of tea while you talk about the time that was and what it represents now.
"I am a Black and Puerto Rican person whose home has and will always be in America. My ethnicity was questioned by almost all those around me; if not a question spoken aloud then a question I could see in the eyes of almost all those around me. At the time I didn't realize I was projecting my own question into those eyes around me. 'What is my ethnicity? I was born in Columbia, SC, so I am an American. At the same time, my mother is Puerto Rican and my dad is African. They were also both born in the U.S. though so that settled it: we are all just American.' This is how I thought for many years even while constantly being told by my mother and my maternal grandparents how proud they were to be Puerto Rican. Meaning I should be too. The problem was that I wasn't just Puerto Rican and the more I was told how I should be proud of being Puerto Rican the more I felt as if my blackness was being ignored or was less important. Of course, I know now that was never how it was meant to be taken but at the time that was how it felt. My diaspora has exposed itself in many different ways, some apparent and others hidden. For example, some of my best memories are waking up to Marc Anthony and cleaning in the morning with my family, or going to La Isla Bonita con mis Abuelos. These are things that no one around me could relate to. I didn't fit in because I never felt quite Hispanic enough (not being born on the island, or speaking the language well) nor could I feel Black enough because I didn’t look the part or have enough of the same experiences. I can't say my journey of understanding who I am is done, I'm not sure it will ever be. I am still working towards accepting every single part of me and embracing everything that makes me a little bit different. I am 100% Black and 100% Puerto Rican." -Maddie
"I was born in 1977 and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. I never thought I would be in my forties living in the States. For me, “leaving the island” was a temporary thing. Fourteen years later, I call Columbia my home. When I left Puerto Rico, I was 27. I grew up with my abuela’s strong beliefs that being American was a great thing- but we never talked about that being Puerto Rican was even better and that no matter where I went, I should be proud of that. My diaspora woke me after reading 'War against All Puerto Ricans' ...sigh... I was forever changed. None of what I read about mi isla is what I learned at school!" --Zuleyka
“My parents made the decision to move to New York City during the Puerto Rican diaspora in the late 1960s. There was a long-awaited promise of a better life, economic progress and having the entire family live under one roof. In New York, life was not easy. We lived in an apartment not quite suitable for a family of eight, but Mami and Papi made it work! This courageous duo did not allow language barriers, apartment size or freezing cold weather deter them from their mission: raise their family under better economic conditions than the one they left behind in Puerto Rico." -- Gert
“Yo no nací en Puerto Rico, pero Puerto Rico nació en mí. I wasn’t born in Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rico was born in me. I was born in San Antonio, TX, to proud Puerto Rican parents who participated in the Puerto Rican diaspora when they were young. My father joined the Army so we moved a lot and were surrounded by many different cultures. While this brought rich experiences, I noticed that often I felt that I could not relate or find comfort outside of my home. At home I was represented, the rhythm of the languages and customs made sense. When I wasn’t at home I often felt like an outsider…" -- Diane
Our unique diasporas united us and we knew we had a mission: to help others connect with their own backgrounds. Resources like Statista, AncestryLibrary and HeritageQuest can be the starting point. Sometimes, a booklist or a movie can spark that fire too.
We'd like to start by sharing our own diaspora: The Puerto Rican Diaspora. No matter where we go, how we came to be where we are now, we are proud of what is in our blood. These mix of races and ethnicities that made us what we are. Our own race!
We hope you join us with a cafecito as we share and discuss subjects that although are hard to talk about they need to be addressed.