Stateside Puerto Ricans, who responded to island protests, are still vigilant

“It didn’t matter where we were standing in the world,” Ricky Flores of New York said. “There was something happening in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans responded.” When protesters in Puerto Rico started the #RickyRenuncia movement, the diaspora was quick to answer the call to action.

“For us, it’s something historic,” said Edil Sepúlveda, 34, an attorney and co-founder of Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora, a group that seeks to harness the clout of the Puerto Ricans who live in the mainland United States. “I don’t think we have ever seen this level of passion.”

He said he just “couldn’t sleep" after reports about the intensifying mass protests in Puerto Rico, where hundreds of thousands of people were demanding that Ricardo Rosselló step down as governor over scandals involving leaked polemic chats and corruption investigations.

Sepúlveda was one of many Puerto Ricans who booked a flight to the epicenter of the action in anticipation of the biggest protest in Puerto Rico's history.

“All my family’s there, and we have a very big love for everything that is Puerto Rico,” Sepúlveda, who lives in Washington, D.C., said. “So, for me, it’s so important to be there when they need it the most … [and] just to connect with them on the ground.”

It felt different on the ground in San Juan, he recalled, not only because more than half a million people took to the streets to protest but also because of the inclusivity of the protests.


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