La Borinqueña Has A New Friend With A Chinese-Dominican Background

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez has given Groot of “Guardians of the Galaxy” Puerto Rican roots and introduced the comic book world to Puerto Rican superhero “La Borinqueña.” Now, Miranda-Rodriguez is adding even more diversity to his comics by adding Lauren “La La” Liu, La Borinqueña’s best and oldest friend.

Miranda-Rodriguez is introducing Chinese-Dominican Lauren “La La” Liu in the first official “La Borinqueña” comic book.

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

Miranda-Rodriguez said his personal experience inspired the creation of Liu. “I have Asian Latinx in my family. My wife is Korean-American and our baby boy is half Puerto Rican, or as I like to call him, a Koricua,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “My goddaughter is adopted from China and raised by Puerto Rican/Dominican/Filipino parents. Given this awareness of the diversity of our Latinx heritage, I wanted to acknowledge it in my comic book series. I also wanted to create a character that wasn’t a superhuman, but had the tenacity and cojones of a badass young woman from Washington Heights.”

La La Liu has already made an impact in the Asian-Latinx community, with people already cosplaying as the Puerto Rican superhero’s best friend.

“Online, many Asian Latinx have reached out to me thanking me for acknowledging their rich diverse heritage. One young woman from Washington State University, Tai Yang-Abreu, is actually Chinese-Dominican herself and dressed up as La La Liu this past Halloween,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “Even my friend Ming Chen (one of the hosts of “Comic Book Men”) saw this and said “‘You see? You’ve made it!'”

Liu is also catching the attention of major Asian Pacific American organizations.

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú he was asked to create an original comic book and art exhibition for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “Now more than ever, given this week’s election, it’s important that we celebrate and defend our right to write and create stories about ourselves, our culture and our heroes. When our culture is being attacked, that is when we need to be more vigilant than ever. As artists, we have a responsibility to create art that inspires.”

Miranda-Rodriguez is excited about being a part of the exhibit because it made him give the character a proper backstory.

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

“They loved my work, my message, and asked me to be part of the show they were curating in New York City on November 12 and 13,” Miranda-Rodriguez said about the chance to join the exhibit. “This gave me an opportunity to give La La Liu a backstory as she gets to talk about her family leaving Barrio Chino in the Dominican Republic to come to Nueva York.”

So far, Miranda-Rodriguez says that his own goddaughter’s reaction to the new comic book is what excites him the most.

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

“My goddaughter Raisa Lin Garden-Lucerna, is a freshman at Goucher College. Her energy, activism and vernacular inspired me to create La La Liu,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “She jokingly refers to her close friend on campus as La Borinqueña. She read this comic book that I created for the Smithsonian Asian American Pacific Center and loved it. Having her tell me how much she enjoyed reading the story was inspiring for me.”

“What I love about writing La La Liu is how fearless and strong she is,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú.

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

“She has no super powers but isn’t afraid to defend herself. It’s important that we respect our mujeres and expect to be called out or knocked out when we step out of line,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “If we want real change to happen in America, we need to start with how we interact with each other. I write my characters with strength and tenacity, just like the real women that raised me and are still in my life. They don’t stand behind me; they stand beside me. Sometimes they lead and I gladly follow.”

Honestly, this is a pretty dope addition to the world of “La Borinqueña.”

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

READ: ‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

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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

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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