One half Puerto Rican, All American
Not many people know that I am 1/2 Puerto Rican. My Papi was born in the mountains of Cayey and settled outside of Boston after moving around to army bases all over the world.
My Latina heritage isn’t something that comes up naturally. My name doesn’t reflect it, I don’t speak Spanish regularly, and people don’t generally ask … why would they?
That said, it’s something that I am proud of and some of my favorite memories reflect my Puerto Rican roots and family trips to the island. Having my children grow up speaking both English and Spanish has been really important to me, not just because its a great life skill, but because it feels like I owe it to them to provide this context for their heritage.
I remember going on a cruise with my family when I was in college, before any of us had passports. The attendants at the cruise line gave my father a hard time because he was using his birth certificate from Puerto Rico to board the ship. They insisted he wasn’t a US citizen. I was angered by their ignorance. This experience stuck with me.
To see the destruction and suffering on the island is heart breaking. It is a special place and I hope relief efforts begin to help heal our fellow Americans.