Things That Matter

8 Photos Of Past And Present Puerto Rican Day Parades That Prove This Parade Has The Most Beautiful Energy Of Them All

New York City streets were a river of Puerto Rican pride over the weekend as thousands of Boricuas gathered together to honor the island for National Puerto Rico Day Parade. In celebration of the nearly four million people living on the island, those who make up the U.S. diaspora, the parade drew marching bands, politicians, and some of the biggest celebrity names in the game today.

Including New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ricky Martin.

The first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in April 13, 1958 in NYC.

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The event replaced the former Hispanic Day Parade. Today, the parade hosts over seven major events throughout the city including a street fair which has previously attracted New York politicians from various backgrounds including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

This year, AOC walked the path so many prominent figures have made in honor of the parade as well.

Ricky Martin was also livin’ la vida loca at the parade.

Latin pop star Ricky Martin, who was born in San Juan, led the colorful Manhattan parade as the grand marshall. The Grammy-winner wasn’t the only musician to turn out for the event. Singers La India and José Feliciano also made appearances and at one point they reportedly sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the crowd of paraders.

Professional boxer Amanda Serrano also appeared at the event.

The Puerto Rican professional boxer and mixed martial artist holds a Guinness World Record for being the first woman to win titles in seven different weight classes.

Jennifer Lopez and her former husband Marc Anthony famously attended the parade in 2007 and 2010.

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez took toFifth Avenue during the Puerto Rican Day Parade in June 13, 2010 in New York and made waves with their presence.

The event was also attended by Boricuas with style.

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Literally so many summer lewks to discover and copy paste from this weekend.

This guy wearing a flag as a cape is my summer style super hero.

And this chica looking like a Boricua queen is providing the summer glow I want to embody.

Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe its because she’s Puerto Rican.

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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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