To be Latin is to be mixed. In the Caribbean, South America and North America: Indigenous, European and African, but also Oceanic and Asian mixed into our Latin thing, and New York City is our capital. ¡Azúcar!
Latin is Black too. Black Lives Matter. We must keep repeating that until it doesn’t matter any more.
New York is a city of immigrants, just as the United States is a country of immigrants, but many of us have been American families for generations. We are proud of our heritage: proud to be Americans, and proud to be New Yorkers.
“Patria son tantas cosas bellas!”
Ruben Blades “Patria,” 1988 (Homeland is many beautiful things)
“When You’re Here, You’re a New Yorker”
The NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs really gets it.
“Where you were born does not matter.NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
When you’re here, you’re a New Yorker.”
It can’t be said any better than that, and it is true. Part of the magic of New York City is that it is one of the best places in the world to reinvent yourself. It’s the only place we know where you can build an empire entirely in your own language, without even speaking the local language. We are proud of that.
Living in Puerto Rico made us realize that Puerto Ricans on the island are completely different from Puerto Ricans in New York City. The same is true no matter where you or your family are from. In New York, you have to think faster, work faster, walk faster and talk faster. Living in the city changes you in a New York minute.
When we started this project in 2012, national labels made sense. That is how we were taught to see the world from the United States. But after living in the Latin world all these years, national labels don’t make much sense anymore. We are just people and are all mixes of each other.
Like skin color, nationality is a false flag. Humans have been migrating since we could walk. There is only one species of humans living in the world today. Whatever you are, Africa is the mother of us all.
We Are All Faiths, Including None At All
The Latin story is a story of colonization, enslavement and the long march towards independence and freedom.
“Latin” is generally associated with the Roman Catholic church. We love and respect all traditions, but don’t represent any church and don’t intend to promote any particular religion. Any way the spirit manifests for you is a blessing.
However, religion has been a major influence on Latin culture. Churches are still the richest organizations in many Latin countries, and not only the Catholic church. During the Colonial Era, colonizers and priests controlled every aspect of daily life.
Indigenous people and Africans syncretized (blended) our ancestral faiths with colonizer faiths. Syncretization often implies some sneaky preservation, but there is another way to see it. We recognized the similarities in our faiths. Colonizers insist that their way is the only way which blinds them to the divinity in all human faiths.
Humans do pretty much the same things around the world and across time – because we are human. Some of us drink the blood and eat the body of God in a sacred place, some of us sacrifice a ram on a sacred day, and some of us pour chicken blood and feathers on a sacred place, but it is the same thing.
In competition and ignorance, people of faith tend to demonize all other faiths, but there are no demons, only demonizers. Fear is in your own head. This demonization of “others” is a legacy of White Supremacy. All faiths try to make sense of the miracle of being alive, and the endless cycle of life and death. All faiths seek to maximize human potential.
Anything we write about faith is just our opinion. Ancient writings were written as poetry, not technical manuals to be followed word for word. We look for the meaning behind the symbols. Only a priest or priestess can teach you about your chosen faith. Nature, science or nothing at all works for us too.
Help us Get Our Story Right
Forgive us for the inaccuracy in some of our writing. We are a small team and obviously not raised in all of these cultures, but you will find all these people and cultures in New York City.
Frankly, being raised and educated in the United States made us blind. This project is a journey of learning and sharing. Every year, we realize how ignorant we were the year before. Help us get the story right.
Black Lives Matter is forcing us to decolonize our own heads and rethink everything. So much of what we were taught to cherish, turns out to be White Supremacist nonsense. It is taking time to process, because as soon as you digest one thing, you become aware of something else. It’s like peeling an onion, but we keep peeling it.
We want to tell your story, because it is our story too.
“It’s up to you, New York, New York.”Theme from the 1977 Martin Scorcese film “New York, New York,” written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, famously sung by Frank Sinatra