In 1899 ambassadors from protestant churches knelt over the map of Puerto Rico, divided the territory among them and prayed that locals met their influence without hostility. This vignette from Donald T Moore’s book Puerto Rico for Christ and pulled apart by Puerto Rican sociologist Emilio Pantojas García sets the wheels in motion that allowed religion to steer the future of our political and cultural system. In this episode, journalist and producer Alejandra Rosa and author and photographer Huáscar Robles review how this religious influence fuels today’s anti-LGBTQ agenda. This is part 2 of 3.
In her description of a hate crime, a transgender woman recalls how her audition sharpened while she fended off what seemed like certain death. She could hear the nightscape, the coquies and radio sounds of the nearby homes. Puerto Rican journalist dubbed this “The Puerto Rican Silence,” the floating sounds of the island’s landscape. The description spans many metaphors on a country plagued by censorship, vigilance and persecution. Rosa, on a powerful and emotionally charged interview, discusses with Catatonia Podcast, of the upcoming narrative piece she penned for Scallywag Magazine “From the Church to the Capitol: “Religious Freedom” vs. LGBT rights in Puerto Rico. This is part 1 of 3 episodes dedicated to The Future of the LGBTQ+ Community as the Religious Right influences government and attempts to roll back protections.
4,645 people died after Hurricane María ---- 4 6 4 5 ----- The number? A report by The New England Journal o Medicine. The conclusion? Lack of transparency. This episode explores the poetry behind the discourse given to a nation in a state of shock.
On May 1, 2018 Puerto Rico's National Strike brought workers, families and students from all sectors to manifest against the austerity measures imposed by the Fiscal Board. I went to Puerto Rico to bury my grandmother. There I found the national strike. This episode is about pausing, thinking and the silences we face during trauma. It also about images and surveillance, and how social and traditional media might evolve to become Puerto Rico's next "carpeteo" or surveillance program.
Joseph Rodríguez and I, circa 2015.
Puerto Rico goes into overdrive. Privatized PREPA. Ed system is overhauled. And bitcoin zillionaires move to PR. But where are culture and arts mentioned in our recovery? Also, the second half of photog Joseph Rodríguez's interview.
Party’s over, people! We pulled through the holidays with coquito and parrandas. Now, let’s get back to business.
On our second episode: a follow up to my mom’s story. Spoiler: she adopted a NY pigeon! We look into Puerto Rico’s First Lady, Beatriz Roselló’s failed parks rehab initiative and discuss Puerto Rico’s only suicide hot line center (@NYTimes). Finally, what is a parranda but a light in the darkness of our plight? But, are we ALL celebrating?
I made a huge mistake. My mom came to New York from Puerto Rico on October 5, 2017 and I thought it would be a good idea to Facebook- live our encounter. Flop! She collapsed, cried and proceeded to mourn for Puerto Rico, her town of Caguas, which was badly hit, and for the birds and the bees. Yes, she mourned for creatures that couldn’t fend for themselves perhaps because now, as a refugee, she felt the same way. In this, our very first episode, we talk about Puerto Ricans relocating with family in Continental U.S. or elsewhere, their anxieties and fears, but also their anecdotes and humorous stories. Do you have family from Puerto Rico living with you? Share your toughest challenges and victories! Comment here on this page or on Facebook. Subscribe to get Catatonia via email or on iTunes.