My great-grandfather, Marcos Burgos Santiago, died at the age of ninety-nine. Though he lived what many would call a long and full life, one thing haunts me. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Don Marcos resided completely under the rule of the United States. Almost one hundred years of life, and he never knew what it meant to live in freedom.

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“If we construct a New Boricua Diaspora aesthetic we can, with greater clarity, understand who we are and map out possible directions. Quite simply and unequivocally, we can begin to recognize and honor our beauty, particularities, and greatness and heal wounds of self-hate and cynicism. This, for what it is worth, is an invitation to dialogue and to create.”

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According to the 2010 United States census, there are, for the first time in our history, more Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. than on the island. As time continues, less and less the children of Borinquen reside on our tragic Eden, despite the conviction that it remains our communal ‘home.’ The question why is important, but what characterizes our exiled existence as a hint to new collective directions is even more intriguing.

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