Home of the Taino until the land was seized by the Spanish, Puerto Rico has been under varying forms of colonial rule for over 500 years. In fact, the UN has often called for the United States to ‘de-colonize’ Puerto Rico, but persistently the US has failed to act to either allow full representation via statehood or grant independence to the people of Puerto Rico.
Despite this, the people of Puerto Rico have maintained a fierce cultural independence that offers a unique and powerful contribution to the world. Indigenous, Spanish, African, Creole, English, French – the variation in heritage is wide, yet the identity as Puerto Rican is singular.
Culture and heritage are interwined in American society; what often appears to be similar often has a unique flavor behind it. From Jose Ferrer to Benicio Del Toro, from Jennifer Lopez to Bruno Mars, Sonia Sotomayor to Reggie Jackson to Eddie Palmieri - the list of Puerto Ricans that contribute to our lives is extensive. Always treasuring their heritage, they often blend into the American cultural fabric.
In September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria battered Puerto Rico beyond belief. All of the power on the island was knocked out, and almost all of the phone service. The aftermath has been one of denial among American politicians, proving the truth of our inability to transcend colonialism. The situation is dire – real people are struggling for their very survival as thousands flee the island. When Katrina hit New Orleans, many of us understood that the culture must survive, and it is time once again to support the cultural contribution of our fellow Americans.
Our tee shirts were designed with the identity of Puerto Rico in mind, and as a message of our respect for the culture. The message we wish to send is that we are with the people of Puerto Rico in their efforts to survive and thrive once again. For each tee sold we will send $ 12.50 to a local organization in Puerto who is working directly with people. Our first recipient is Taller de Fotoperiodismo in San Juan, who works closely with children in the community and is in immediate need of support.
Since 1994, el Taller de Fotoperiodismo (the Workshop of Photo-Journalism) has dedicated itself to training Puerto Rico's future generation of reporters, photographers and journalists.
El Taller provides free education, equipment and services, Island-wide to public school students from age 7 to 18 years of age.
In the wake of devastating Hurricanes and conflicting "facts," el Taller and it's children will be at the forefront of rebuilding Puerto Rico and documenting the most important transition from tragedy to triumph in modern Puerto Rican history.