DefendPR tells the story of resilient people in an island’s fight for their culture and identity. Using a people-centered approach to storytelling and the dissemination of personal and community narratives, we hope to capture the remarkable resilience and creativity of the Puerto Rican people as they navigate the current humanitarian crisis—a product of over a century of U.S. colonization. Telling stories of resistance & renewal in all areas of Puerto Rican society and life, highlighting everything from agriculture and art, to grassroots political mobilization and global solidarity networks.
The power of storytelling is transformative.
We believe the story of Puerto Rico should be told by more Puerto Ricans. As Boricuas in the diaspora, our strategy is to first go back to the island and immerse ourselves to learn about the issues affecting our people most. Only then, can we disseminate more nuanced, intersectional information for others to share.
Puerto Rico’s on-going struggle for self-determination, dignity, and healing is the struggle of everyday people to dream and create freely. Defend PR hopes to use its platform to create content of, by, and for the Puerto Rican people, in hopes to reclaim our stories and envision a different existence.
Why We Need You, Mi Gente
This project has been a passion project for all of us for over a year now. We would love to devote more time and work to this movement. Our initiative and personal income can only take us so far, which is why we need your support to build on this project. With your help, we would be able to reach a much broader audience that will not only amplify these stories but also support movements and people on the frontlines fighting for change.
We were recently awarded a matching commission fund grant from the East Bay Fund for Artists. The grant will match the funds we raise up to $8K. This is where you come in. If we can show them how much our community will support this project they will double your support! If we meet our $8k goal, we would be granted a total of $16k towards Defend Puerto Rico’s project.
This funding will help us return to Puerto Rico and elevate firsthand accounts of the stories of our people.
The current $72 Billion debt has crippled the island’s economy and in June of last year, Congress approved the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”—“promise” in Spanish), which creates a colonial-style fiscal control board of seven unelected officials who have taken control over economic and non-economic/governmental duties. The fiscal control board aims to guarantee debt repayment and the restoration of Puerto Rico’s economy by increasing austerity. As recently as May 2017, the students of the University of Puerto Rico have become the latest victims of the board in the form of a $512 million budget cut (half of the university’s budget) to the University of Puerto Rico. In addition, over 185 elementary and secondary schools are set to close within the year, displacing over 27,000 students. The latter shows that the fiscal control board believes in paying wealthy creditors and hedge fund vultures on Wall Street at all costs—even when the cost is the livelihood of our children and students.
Defend PR is unlike any other work we’ve done. We’re using creative and innovative technology like 360º Videos, augmented reality and more to share stories in real time. Along with contributions from artists from all over the diaspora, who are using Art as a vehicle to reflect and convey ideas around these issues. As a result, more people are joining the conversation. Audiences are immersed in online dialogue and the exchange of knowledge on how they might collaborate, improve, and bring about positive change for Puerto Ricans.
We have established partnerships with NYC and Bay Area Community organizations as well as Puerto Rico based organizations like Casa de Cultura Ruth Hernández, Vive Boriken, Galeria Betances, Acacia Network, Loisada Cultural Center, Clemente Soto Velez Community Center, Taller Boricua, El Museo del Barrio, Bay Area Boricuas and Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. Our goal is to amplify the voices of Puerto Ricans who are working to create a better and just world; where the land, people, and culture can thrive in a loving community.
Help us tell our own stories…
We truly believe that this work will be one our life defining and life changing experiences that we can contribute to our community. There has never been a more momentous time to tell our stories. We hope you can be apart of it.
If you’d like to contribute to the #DefendPR campaign, please click here. For more info, please visit their official site by clicking here. Keep it locked here on Snkrbst.com for all the latest and greatest – and don’t forget to #ThinkLikeUs.