Towering over everything while we cruised up, what seemed to me like, “the” cannon of heroes with thousands upon thousands of cheering Puerto Ricans, thousands and thousands of flags representing an island smaller than the state of New Jersey; I swore to myself I would not cry, and I didn’t. I was too busy shouting, taking pictures and posting to social media as fast as my fingers would allow. I was too busy being happy and exhilarated. It was a testament to the power of the Puerto Rican nation; a nation who’s homeland has been racked by a political system that has no altruistic beneficial regard for it or its people. A little piece of land flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other; an island from which emerged all manner of race and what one scientist, through DNA research, proved to be the perfect human being.* An island and people who really, against all possible odds, have survived the human tragedy that is slavery, political persecution, sterilization, police brutality, institutional poverty, discrimination of all kinds, its economic collapse and environmental destruction.
We took over the apex of modern-day Rome: 5th Avenue.
Even the very wealthy Plaza (once known as the prestigious Plaza Hotel) adorned a huge Puerto Rican flag undulating front its façade. It was the living embodiment of that quote used during the Zapatista Movement:
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
Moving up the pinnacle of America’s capitalist machine, I could not help but see the irony in hundreds of Puerto Ricans marching brandishing banners demanding the release of political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, holding up high portraits of Harvard University graduate and nationalist, Pedro Albizu Campos and the great social and civil rights leader Antonia Pantoja, among others; with thousands of more Puerto Rican families gathered looking on, waving their flags in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier and Apple all chanting:
¡Que Viva Puerto Rico! ¡Que Viva Libre!
We hid in plain sight. We succeeded in turning one of the most iconic symbols of “the greatest,” “wealthiest,” “most powerful” country in the world into a sea of political, social and cultural action. It was a tremendous victory for a people and land whose death sentence has come and gone, several times over. And so, I was exhilarated at witnessing our union and power on that day; at witnessing and being part of Team Capicu: a loving and supportive family of writers, artists and cultural workers who came together and who worked apart, who each contributed and who together built a cohesive beautiful priceless piece of art that made up all of our exhilarating experience at the 2015 Puerto Rican Day Parade.
¡Gracias mi gente!
*Biologist Says Puerto Rican Women Possess Ideal Genotype Of The 'Perfect' Human Via DNA Ancestry.