I don’t have any personal ties to the island, but with an influx of free time during the pandemic and an obsession with Puerto Rican Reggaeton artist Bad Bunny, I began to channel my stircrazziness into a new interest. My room overflowed with books like Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World and Voces de la Cultura, while I binged podcasts from Chente Ydrach and La Universidad de Puerto Rico’s Negras or YouTube videos by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and Puerto Rican independent journalist Bianca Graulau. I followed stateside activism organizations like Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora (BUDPR) and Power4PuertoRico. This instilled in me a knowledge base and admiration for Puerto Rico while understanding the injustices that the American government has committed on the island.
I am proud to be an American, but pride is not limited to relishing our successes—we must also acknowledge when we fail to uphold freedom and justice. Our country’s grip over Puerto Rico is such a failure. The United States is a nation whose very birth came in reaction to colonialism, so how can we continue to perpetuate the same philosophy ourselves? H.R. 2070 is our best opportunity to change that.