Culture

NYC Mayor Cancels All Major June Gatherings, Including Puerto Rico Day Parade, Because, Well, You Know

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled all nonessential gatherings in June, including NYC Pride and Puerto Rican Day parades. The news is just another in a long line of major cancellations across the globe because, well, you guessed it, the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has forced NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to cancel all nonessential gatherings in June.

The Puerto Rico Day parade is one of the most important and celebrated events to happen in New York City. It is a time when Puerto Rican New Yorkers take to the streets and revel in their cultural pride as Americans.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a Puerto Rican woman representing New York’s 7th Congressional district tweeted her own disappointment about the cancellation. However, the representative reminded her constituents who might be upset that it is all necessary for the greater good.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledged that he was not sure when major cultural events would go back to normal.

Tbh, a ticker tape parade for all of the women and men serving in the frontlines of this virus seems like a must. The healthcare workers are not only putting themselves at risk to save us but their families are also sacrificing their time with them and, potentially, their own health.

While some residents agree, many would like to see the first responders paid more for the work they do.

According to Glassdoor, Salaray.com, and Indeed, the average pay for an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is around $32,000 a year. For reference, ZipRecruiter ranks New York state as the highest salary for EMT workers making $15.32 an hour. California is ranked 17th with EMTs making $13.74 an hour.

While the loss of these events might be saddening, New Yorkers seem ready to sacrifice to fight the coronavirus.

Health experts have warned Americans to prepare for longer safe-at-home orders as the virus continues to spread. There is talk about opening some states sooner than others and some experts have warned that opening too early could lead to more spikes and deaths as well as a harder economic time ahead.

We all just need to hold on until the end so we can get this virus in check and we can return to the outside world.

We’ve made it this far, we can go all of the way. Just hold on tight and know that we are all in this together.

READ: These Latino Teens Have Turned Shopping For Vulnerable Neighborhoods Into Full-Time Work

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

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Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo telescope collapsed in December after years of neglect and damage from earthquakes and hurricanes. But the island is looking to the future with the hope that the U.S. territory could become a major hub for space exploration as a potential space port.

Puerto Rico seeks to be a hub for international space travel.

Puerto Rico may best be known for its tourist packed beaches and its bankrupt finances, but as the island continues to recover from the economic disasters in the wake of hurricanes and earthquakes, it’s looking to the future.

And to many officials on the island, the future is in space exploration. The Caribbean island has put out a request for information, or RFI, seeking companies interested in turning a sleepy airport at the base of the El Yunque National Rainforest into a space port.

The island’s location between North and South America and close to the Equator gives it “viable trajectories to a large range of desirable low earth orbit launch inclinations,” Puerto Rico’s Port Authority said in a notice posted Friday.

The potential base could be a major boost to the Puerto Rican economy.

The site is currently a small airport that already houses an 11,000 feet runway and offers flights to various points in the territory. But with the existing infrastructure, officials state it could easily be converted into a space port.

If the site does generate interest, it would be a major boost to Puerto Rico’s small but vibrant aerospace sector. Honeywell Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace all have manufacturing plants on the island.

Puerto Rico would also join a growing number of U.S. states and jurisdictions that are vying for pieces of the commercial launch business, which is expected to become a trillion-dollar market over the next decade.

The executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (APPR), Joel A. Pizá Batiz, believes that “The aerospace industry is one of the economic sectors that is experiencing the most rapid growth. In fact, in the midst of the pandemic it was one of the few sectors that did not receive much impact,” he explained.

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