Finding Home & Care in the PR Syllabus

Engaging with the PR Syllabus site made me quite emotional, a reaction I didn’t expect. As a young adult, nothing remotely similar existed. I spent hours upon hours digging through search engines, Wikipedia pages, and deciphering the credibility of suspicious sites and articles, in order to slowly and arduously piece together a lineage and history that was slowly forgotten and intentionally erased (via colonization and forced migration). But even after all of those years of self-study, my understanding of Puerto Rican history was still flawed and inconsistent.  The one Puerto Rican Studies class I took as an undergraduate was wildly disappointing. Even then, knowing as little as I did, I knew this class lacked historical context and nuance, and lazily reinforced cultural stereotypes. But I didn’t have the language to express these concerns, nor did I know how to advocate for a syllabus created with intention and care.

Marta Effinger-Crichlow’s notion of home resonated deeply here. My need to excavate this history essentially stemmed from a desire to “encounter belonging and care”—a desire to remember and in turn “remain rooted in the diaspora”.  When I felt ready, I found myself teaching back this history to my mother, grandmother, aunts, and uncles—all island born Puerto Ricans. I was deeply invested in our collective “knowing”. But Crichlow prompted me think about how much easier and quite beautiful it could have been to find home in a digital space like the PR Syllabus. How might this have enriched or shifted the trajectory of my family’s lives? How much more involved, actionable, and collaborative could I have been if I had access to something as simple as the PR Syllabus’ list of activist organizations and citizen initiatives?

I am so grateful for the folks who have co-created this immense, but necessary living project.  It is definitely creates opportunities for both physical and digital manifestations of home.