It is free the people under colonial rule
My family is not your commodity
The air we breathe is capitalist greed
The residential lines that are zoned for people like my family, will never set us free
We are complex, diverse, and multicultural in the most nonconsensual way
We are products of white greed and colonialism
Imperialism, expansion, and this U.S. patriotism is not for me
You owe me, you owe us
To be stripped away of your identity and your blood
To have your ancestors fight for freedom and be used as sex slaves
To lose your native language and to be legally recognized as extinct by the colonizer’s rules
Is extremely upsetting to me
We are not extinct
It is not my fault that my island’s Indigenous practices have been erased
There is very little for us to claim, except for the Taíno in our dna
We survived the attempt of the European white out
My pigment may have been genetically taken away from me because of the Spanish monarchs
And for that my land is not free
I recognize my light skin and my ancestral complexity
I recognize the disease of assimilation on my people
I recognize my family’s Afro textured hair, Indian roots, and european blood
We are products of colonialism
I recognize the worth of my grandparents
They were priceless
But to you they were commodities
You used them as property on your plantations and sugar cane fields
I recognize the diseases my family contracted from these invisible residential lines you placed
around them
I saw the smoke from the factories down the street from my family’s neighborhood
And how that would later cause problems for my people
I see the deserts in Hartford
Where there is nothing but bodegas and cheap food with no nutritional value
Then you blame us when we develop diseases
You tell my people to work harder
And to try harder
But you strip them away of resources while you benefit off of generational wealth
You cannot blame me for not trusting you
I feel bad for my people who have been conditioned to believe we need people like you
I feel bad for my people on my island who cannot vote like you tell them to
I am scared for my uncles and cousins
Unlike me, they do not have light skin and straight hair
They cannot hide their dark skin and textured hair
When they get pulled over, I wonder what the cops are going to do
That is why I say “te quiero mucho,” I love you
Because the truth is I never know if I’m going to see their name on the news very soon
My people are taught to assimilate or revolt
We are taught to fight each other as a condition under the colonial rule
If I refuse to speak Spanish it is not because I am “less than” boricua
But because I am tired of the white man’s rules
Give me my land back
It was never yours to begin with
We cannot be nice anymore
We cannot ask our oppressor to set us free
Because by doing so we accept that we are not free and we will never be, as long as we ask for
It is time to listen
Puerto Rican nationalism is not terrorism or supremacy
It is when colonized people reclaim what is theirs
It is taking pride in what we were taught to hate
It is the start of decolonizing and although it will take us a while
Our people cannot wait anymore
After being watched by the FBI
Killed by the government for wanting freedom
Stripped away of our roots
It is not your choice to let us free
It is our demand and our war
From the Cries of a Puerto Rican Nationalist
Who just wants their land to be free


Artist Statement: The Cries of a Puerto Rican Nationalist was inspired by Lolita Lebron. Lolita Lebron was a Puerto Rican nationalist and a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party (PNP). PNP rejected U.S. imperialism and fought for the independence of Puerto Rico. Lolita incorporated feminist and socialist ideas into the independence movement. She was militant and stated her opinion on the U.S. neocolonial relationship with Puerto Rico. She participated in anti-imperialist protests and the general strike against the sugar industry. In 1954 she organized an attack against the U.S. Congress and called for the independence of Puerto Rico.

Bio: Brittany Diaz is a pre-law student at the University of Connecticut studying political science and human rights. She is the president of UConn Collaborative Organizing (UCCO) and an aspiring scholar-activist. She has experience in community organizing, legal research, and social justice education. Brittany strives to protect and advance universal human rights through policy, education, and social movements.