Things That Matter

Julia De Burgos Had A Short Life But Her Legacy Continues To Inspire Afro-Latinas Today

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Julia de Burgos was a woman ahead of her time. The prolific writer, feminist, and activist — born in Carolina, Puerto Rico in 1914 — excelled in her craft long before anyone was ready to acknowledge it. Her world wasn’t prepared for an Afro-Latina academic that would defy conservative tradition. And so, she challenged it with her words.

Like Puerto Rico in the 1920s and 30s, Julia de Burgos was also coming of age.

It’s as if they were both figuring out who they were going to be and what they would represent. The main difference between the island and de Burgos is that she took broader steps much faster than the island could keep up. In her short life, De Burgos’s accomplished so much despite being born in extreme poverty. In many ways, she was a survivor and a fighter. De Burgos survived malnutrition when her six younger siblings could not. She survived Hurricane San Felipe Segundo, Puerto Rico’s only Category 5 to ever strike the island — when more than 300 other unfortunately did not.

At age 24 she self-published her book of poetry.

In 1939 she released “Poema en veinte surcos” (“Poem in Twenty Furrows”). Even at that young age, de Burgos was already married, a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and working as a teacher. Poetry, however, was her real love.

Her work dealt with the issues she knew best: poverty, Puerto Rico, and a desire to live.

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One of the greatest revolutionaries! #Repost ¿Sabías que en el 1937 Julia de Burgos añadió la palabra “de” a su apellido para demostrar que sólo ella tenía posesión de sí misma? Julia de Burgos es considerada la poeta más grande que ha tenido Puerto Rico. Mediante su trabajo exploró temas sobre esclavitud, imperialismo, justicia social, y feminismo. Su poesía le dio acceso a los círculos intelectuales de Puerto Rico. Sin embargo, estos grupos no estaban listos para aceptar la equidad del hombre y la mujer. “En mí no, que en mí manda mi solo corazón, mi solo pensamiento; quien manda en mí soy yo”. Poema "A Julia de Burgos", por Julia de Burgos. #WomenWednesday #CorramosNosotras #JuliaDeBurgos #JuliaVive

A post shared by Nuestra Matria Borkén ☭ (@nuestra_patriapr) on

It’s astonishing to know that such a young woman could write so beautifully about her homeland’s disgraceful history of colonization and slavery at the hands of the Spanish. She was a strong advocate of Puerto Rico’s freedom from Spain and becoming a nation. In 1939, De Burgos became a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and also the Secretary-General of the Daughters of Freedom. Her role was seen as controversial, at least by the United States. Writer Molly Crabapple noted that the FBI interrogated De Burgos because they suspected her of being a nationalist and communist.

Biographer Vanessa Pérez Rosario told the New York Times that De Burgos’ notion of what Puerto Rico was more significant than the island could aspire to.

“She already envisioned an idea of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican identity that was much broader than what was being articulated on the island at the time,” Rosario told the New York Times.

Her thoughts and ideas were too much for Puerto Rico’s elite circle of male intellects, and so, in 1940, she left the island and set for another island, the island of Manhattan. By this time, de Burgos had already published two more collections of poetry and was divorced. She had begun a relationship with a Dominican political exile named Juan Isidro Jimenes Grullón who was her equal intellectually, but not in social status. He came from an affluent family.

“I want to be universal,” de Burgos said to her sister when she arrived in New York City, according to Ms. Magazine. De Burgos did just that and moved to Cuba for a while but returned to Manhattan where she was once again a starving artist this time “facing racial, ethnic and linguistic discrimination.”

Regardless of those harrowing obstacles, de Burgos — who no longer was with Grullón — continued to work as a writer and also a journalist for a local Spanish-language newspaper. Puerto Rico also recognized her achievements and awarded an honor from the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature and an honorary doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico.

In the mid-’40s, De Burgos had remarried though that relationship also ended in divorce.

According to her niece, María Consuelo Sáez Burgos, de Burgos became depressed and turned to drinking. Her alcohol abuse led to “cirrhosis of the liver and respiratory disease.”

Her death, however, is probably the saddest end to her prolific life. The Times reports that police found de Burgos unconscious on the streets of Harlem. She died at the hospital in 1953. She was just 39 years old. And, because she didn’t have an I.D. when police took her to the hospital, she was listed as a Jane Doe. She was buried in a random cemetery and was finally discovered by her family weeks later. Her remains were later exhumed and taken back to Puerto Rico. Despite that tragic ending, her legacy lives on in her poetry, and more importantly in the people, she continues to inspire.

Fans of de Burgos, or those curious about her work can turn to the following books: “Poemas exactos a mi misma,” “Poema en veinte surcos,” “Canción de la verdad sencilla,” and “El mar y tú: otros poemas (1954).” Most of them are available on Amazon.


READ: 21 Things You Didn’t Know About Celia Cruz, The Indisputable Queen Of Salsa

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Fans Of Spider-Man Are In Meltdown Mode After News Breaks That The Series May Be Out Of The Marvel Universe

Entertainment

Fans Of Spider-Man Are In Meltdown Mode After News Breaks That The Series May Be Out Of The Marvel Universe

Sony Pictures

Yup, you read that traumatizing headline correctly. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. It’s been confirmed that Tom Holland, the latest actor to play the beloved Peter Parker on the big screen, will no longer be involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

But what does that actually mean? And how does that affect Miles Morales, the first ever Afro-Latino Spider-Man who starred in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”? 

So how did we get here? We need someone to blame.

Well, like most things in life, it looks like it all revolves around a dispute about money. Disney, which owns Marvel, suggested an equal cofinancing agreement between it and Sony, according to Deadline, the first outlet to report the news. This would mean the studios would split profits 50/50 as well. When Sony declined this offer, Disney acted by removing Kevin Feige — the president of Marvel Studios who has had tremendous success with the latest Spidey iteration — as a producer on future films featuring the famous webslinger.

Nobody seems to know exactly what’s going to happen next here. Sony has been building a fairly impressive Spider-Verse of their own lately. Venom turned out to be among the most profitable films of 2018, and their recent Into the Spider-Verse won the Academy Award for best animated feature.

The studio is putting together a sequel to Venom, which has already received some attention for its recently-announced director, Andy Serkis. There’s a Jared Leto-starring Morbius film in production, and, reportedly, a Kraven the Hunter film on the way, along with some other rumored Spider-Man-Universe films (that, as of now, will not feature the beloved web slinger). Sony may be banking on getting the current Peter Parker—or some form of him—back in their Spider-Verse, and out of the MCU once and for all. This means, of course, that it’s possible for fans to get a Venom and Spider-Man crossover.

Amid the shock, sadness, and uncertainty, fans did the only thing they could do: laugh to keep from crying.

One fan described the news as being just the latest tragedy that comic fans have had to endure this summer, following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.

And what about Stan Lee?!

People considered Spidey’s ousting from the MCU as a slap in the face to the late Stan Lee, the superhero’s co-creator, who once called Holland “a great Spider-Man.”

Fans are convinced the series is cursed.

People thought about Sony’s role in all the Spider-Man films to date — like the third movie in Tobey Maguire’s time in the franchise, which was panned, and Andrew Garfield’s turn as Spidey, which was met with mixed reviews.

Now fans fear Holland is being done dirty by Sony.

In fact, it does seem like there’s a pattern where things go a little haywire every time Spidey is supposed to star in a third film.

And then there’s Miles Morales.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / Sony Pictures

With news that the series will no longer be part of the Marvel Universe, where does that leave the first Afro-Latino Spider-Man? 

Many are hoping that if Tom Holland is out, there could be an opening for the bilingual star.

His version of Spider-Man went on to win an Oscar and brought greater representation to a community that struggles to see itself in the media. 

Comic book writers have made him proud of his heritage, and one of his superpowers is being bilingual. 

The character was created in 2011 by comic book writers Brian Michael and Sara Pichelli.

Credit: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / Sony Pictures

The reason? Bendis, who is African-American, wanted to create a character that young black kids, like his own, could relate to. Repeat after us: representation matters.

He is Peter Parker’s successor with great power. 

Credit: miles-morales-spider-man-1149710. Digital image. ComicBook.com

After Peter dies (or did he?), Morales is bitten by a genetically enhanced spider, and with the aid of S.H.I.E.L.D., the family and friends of the late Peter Parker and other encapuchados he becomes the one and only Spidey. There is drama, of course, as his police officer father Jefferson totally loathes justice fighters. 

Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

Culture

Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

Indian Yogi / Unsplash

Raise your hand if you’ve used a meditation app that works for you until the “teacher” tells you to let go of the idea you can change the world around you. Often, whether it’s your white, blonde yoga teacher or that app, it can be triggering to enter the safe space of your consciousness only to feel triggered by a tone-deaf mantra.

Julio Rivera was one of those people that tried the existing meditation apps only to feel discontent. Some people want to change the world and when your community is in crisis you have to believe that you can change the world. Thankfully, Rivera is an engineer and decided to go out and make his own app that would be a truly safe space for people of color.

Liberate Meditation is “dedicated to empowering the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community on their journey to find inner peace.”

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

“We want to help empower people, not only to meditate but to show them that there’s something you can do about your suffering,” Rivera said of the app. “We can help each other get free and be liberated.” The app is made by POC for POC.

It all started when he finally found the POC sangha at New York Insight Meditation Center. He finally found a spiritual home and wants “folks of color all over the world to know that they are not alone.” With that, he embarked on designing an app that would do just that.

You can scroll through different categories depending on your needs at that given moment.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The topics range from Ancestors, The Body, Gratitude, Love, Micro Aggressions, LGBT Pride, Self Worth and more. Then, once you choose which topic you want to engage in within yourself, you can select from 5 to 20-minute meditation sessions. 

The app also offers non-meditative teachings, which sound more like empowering, resounding speeches from the Teachers. For example, Dr. Valerie Mason-John offers a talk on “Reconciling Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Non-Self.” Hearing non-POC talk about shedding attachment to identity and self can feel frustrating for POC. We spend so much of our lives wrestling with our identities and when we’re able to claim them with pride, its an act of defiance and self-love. I feel this especially around my gay identity–something that my parents tried to beat and pray out of me. Dr. Mason-John’s soft eye into “how the Dharma offers liberation from the suffering that comes from attachment with our identity” is much more palatable given her experience as a queer person of color (QPOC).

All of the voices you will hear on the app are from Teachers of Color.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The User Interface (UI) is clever–allowing you to browse by topic and by teacher. If you find a teacher that resonates with your experience, you can immediately find a list of other teachings and meditations of their own making. When you click on their teacher card, you can read a biography of their experiences in culture, sexuality and more.

“It’s not unusual for people of color to survive by keeping parts of ourselves hidden,” Teacher Cara Lai describes her meditation on “The Power of Belonging.” “We learn to behave in certain ways when we have needs. We learn to hinder our creative expression for social acceptance. This meditation helps us open to the things we’ve locked away to regain our wholeness.”

Liberate Meditation is absolutely free to use.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The reviews are in. People are finding refuge within themselves thanks to the app. It’s clear that Rivera has tapped into a market that has been widely ignored by the wellness industry. Instead of pretending that the harms of external racism and internalized racism don’t exist, the Teachers are acknowledging it, allowing an opportunity for healthy release.

“You will not just mediate, you will be found,” writes one reviewer.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

Another reviewer maintains that “This app is not just some icon you press in your phone to relieve some stress before getting out of bed in the morning.” It’s much more than that. For them, “it is a creation to help our kin heal, rebuild and liberate. You see yourself in this, you find yourself and you take in the words of those who have lived to speak wisdom to you through those guided meditations. You will not just meditate, you will be found.”

Liberation Meditation is available on iOS and Android devices.

READ: We Have Latinos To Thank For Some Of America’s Biggest And Strongest Businesses

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