Why We Write To You
The founding members of La Respuesta magazine are preparing for an exciting new phase and would like to be open with you, nuestra gente, about this transition.
The statement you are reading is the end result of many weeks of conversation and work that was both refreshing and challenging. In the course of running this magazine, the Editorial Core lost track of our desire for collective-run media by forgetting the importance of critical dialogue and mutual support among all parties involved.
We hope the effort to produce this statement inspires the development of collectivity, dialogue, and mutual support among organizers, despite its challenges. In the end, we have done all of this because we endeavor to connect and unify a Boricua Diaspora that needs not only a vision, but a vehicle to discuss on-the-ground solutions that produces new ideas and debates.
What We’ve Done, Con Orgullo
La Respuesta rose organically from the heart of many Puerto Rican Diaspora communities as ‘The Response’ to the issues that affect, motivate, and agitate us. It is an accomplishment within itself that we’ve been able to run a publication with zero funding and an all-volunteer staff from around the country. Many of the Editorial Core members are more than just writers but activists in their communities since before La Respuesta started. With no money and just human dedication we’ve published hundreds of writers and written pieces across genres and perspectives, building an audience in the hundreds of thousands!
We’ve also recognized that Puerto Rican culture does not exist in isolation and have worked actively in solidarity with other oppressed people, such as Palestinians, Black folk, Dominicans, and the undocumented, to name just a few. We have done this by supporting and writing about their struggles and projects. We’ve also engaged the academic community and have been recognized by such organizations as the Puerto Rican Studies Association, and inspired Dominicans to launch their own diaspora publication.
Furthermore, La Respuesta has featured the experiences of those most marginalized in our community, such as mujeres, afrodescendientes, queer and trans folk, our gente in the ‘hood, and those living with disability – and by the very people who embody these experiences! Very few media platforms can say they do this (even if they intend to), let alone Puerto Rican-focused publications.
New Directions, New Process
We represent a young generation of Boricuas seeking to start a new trend. Many movements and organizations important to our collective formation have gone down a path of decay, in many cases due to an inability to implement conflict resolution when political or personal differences arose. La Respuesta seeks to learn and grow from this. Our generation’s desire for collective development and liberation takes precedence over any type of conflict preventing unity.
With the intent of developing coalitions and being a voice of a nascent Diaspora movement, La Respuesta decided to stake a claim in the Internet (Boricuas need to do this in all institutions and spheres!). Although cyberspace falls short of the face-to-face, grassroots interactions necessary in moving from theory to action, La Respuesta is trying to push the envelope of what is possible. We are working towards bridging the gap and connecting social media with meaningful social interaction. This will be an intricate part of our new phase.
Our transformation will also include: the revisiting and critical reflection of our past work, a deep revamping of our mission and vision, and a new editorial structure to reflect the collectivity we desire. And while we prepare for our new phase, we will shift to a rolling submissions cycle.
Our Historic Purpose
Puerto Ricans exist within an historic crossroad. We are migrating from the Caribbean archipelago at levels unseen in almost half a century. Historic Diaspora communities are fading due to economic devastation and gentrification, while new ones are in development. And if political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is released by the end of Obama’s administration, it will be the first time in a generation that the Puerto Rican people haven’t had someone in prison by the U.S. for their belief in independence. These are just a few issues that both plague our people but also give us purpose.
It is thus with the act of denouncing that the responsibility of announcing inspiring alternatives and a world of possibilities is born.
Continue to support the only independent voice of the Puerto Rican Diaspora! Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and local domino playing viejita/os!
¡Qué Viva Puerto Rico Libre! ¡Libertad pa’ Oscar Lopez Rivera!
– La Respuesta collective