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Exhibit Talk: Identity in the Puerto Rican Diaspora


Exhibit Talk: Identity in the Puerto Rican Diaspora

The Puerto Rican experience is complex. Its culture has been under constant attack for centuries. Within the last 100 years alone the people of the islands of Borikén have had their language suppressed, their flag outlawed, their women sterilized, and their movements for independence circumvented by massacre and torture. The mass exodus from the island in the 40s, 50s, and 60s have created generational displacement leading to compromised cultural diffusion and identity struggles that are still prevalent today. This panel, which is particularly important at this moment when the Island’s population faces accelerated dispersal as a result of colonial policies, will explore the Puerto Rican experience of those considered “los de aquí” and “los de afuera”, and how complex these two can be when we look back at the results of centuries of colonialism.

The conversation will be moderated by scholar and institution builder Dr. Marta Moreno Vega. With the participation of Shakti Castro, public historian, researcher and writer; and Diana Ramos Gutiérrez, communicator and radio host at Radio Vieques; and Monxo López a cartographer and South Bronx-based environmental activist.


Marta Moreno Vega, Ph.D. | Dr. Marta Moreno Vega is President of the Creative Justice Initiative Inc. She founded the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in 1976 and served as its President until 1/2018. She has served as the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color, the Roundtable of Institutions of Color. Dr. Moreno Vega is co founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI). She is chief editor of Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora (Arte Publico Press) and author of The Altar of My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2001) and of When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio (Three Rivers Press, 2003, Black Classic Press, 2018), and co-editor of Voices from the Battlefront: Achieving Cultural Equity and Actualidad de las Tradiciones Espirituales y Culturales Africanas en el Caribe y Latinoamerica.


Shakti Castro | Shakti Castro is a Bronx-born Boricua, public historian, and harm reductionist. She spent 4 years as an oral historian and research assistant conducting over 30 oral history interviews at the Center For Puerto Rican Studies. She has also conducted research as a graduate fellow at the Smithsonian, contributed content for the Humanities Action Lab project, States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories, and written for La Respuesta, LatinoRebels, and the Women in Higher Education Newsletter. She is dedicated to representing Puerto Rican and Latinx history in museums, archives, and other cultural institutions. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Media Studies from Hunter College, and a Master's in History with a graduate certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She currently works as the Community Engagement Coordinator at the BOOM!Health Harm Reduction Center in The Bronx.

Diana Ramos Gutiérrez | Diana Ramos Gutiérrez graduated from the Department of Hispanic Studies and History of Latin America at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. Has collaborated with alternative media in Puerto Rico and Latin America, including Revista Cruce, Diálogo Digital, 80grados, Espacio Insular (Dominican Republic / Haiti), Cartel Urbano (Colombia), Nuestra Aparente Rendición (Mexico), El Andén (Argentina), Adital Agency (Brazil), among others. Is a master's candidate in the Communication and Human Rights program at the Faculty of Journalism and Social Communication, at National University of La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Part of the editorial board of Radio Vieques, a community radio station focused on education, justice and peace, collaborates as a cultural organizer and community liaison in the Museum and Archive of the Historical Memory of Vieques.

Monxo Lópex is a cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental activist. He teaches Latino and ethnic politics at Hunter College, Monxo is also a founding member of South Bronx Unite and a board member of the Mott Haven/Port Morris Community Land Stewards, the local Community Land Trust. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from CUNY's Graduate Center, and an MA from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. His academic research revolves around spatiality, mapping, social justice, political theory, and Latino communities. His political writings on spatial and social justice have been published in Salon.com, LatinoRebels, and NACLA, among other media outlets; his activist work has been profiled by The New York Times, UrbanOmnibus, and Corriere della Sera

When: March 15, 6pm-8pm

Where: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), 120 E. 125th Street, New York, New York 10035

Admission: Free with RSVP | Suggested donation $5.00

This program is part of our Defend PR Exhibition which is on view until June 9th.

The Defend Puerto Rico exhibit explores the creative documentation and stories told through the Defend Puerto Rico transmedia project with a compilation of photography, video, design and immersive media. An exhibit experience that guides the audience through the past, current and future dialogue of Puerto Rican identity, culture, and diasporic relationships.

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