AUGUST DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Puerto Rico has been much in the news lately, both nationally and locally. The national, international tragedy of the devastating hurricane last season is an ongoing saga, especially with the current hurricane season already underway. The recent local Chicago area incident of discrimination against a person wearing a Puerto Rican Flag was also a social justice tragedy arising, not only from prejudice but from ignorance of the history of both Puerto Rico and the United States. Sadly, many people do not realize that Puerto Rico is an American Commonwealth and that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
There is not room in this message to even summarize the long and rich history of Puerto Rico which began well before the Europeans arrived in 1492 with the Taino Indians who themselves came from South America, bringing their own rich culture. It is also not possible to give justice here to the many aspects of the Puerto Rican unique culture today including natural beauty and resources, architecture, arts and crafts, folklore, literature and music. Cuisine? Just try one of Puerto Rico's traditional plantain dishes and you'll get a taste of that aspect of Puerto Rico!
One of the many important accomplishments of the people and culture of Puerto Rico is that they have been able to integrate many different cultures in a peaceful way. Some of the beauty of Puerto Rico comes from its contrast of cultures and the merging of Old and New. You can see it in the art and architecture. Also, the people are known to be welcoming and warm to visitors.
Puerto Ricans celebrate many holidays, both the ones other US citizens celebrate, and some unique to Puerto Rico. Although, there are no big holidays in August, the month of July contains several holidays that illustrate the diversity of Puerto Rico: July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day of the U.S., July 16th is a celebration of the birth of Luis Munoz Rivera, who was a poet, journalist and politician struggling for the autonomy of Puerto Rico, and July 25th is the holiday commemorating the establishment of Puerto Rico's Commonwealth status with the United States. The constitution of the commonwealth was approved on July 25th, 1952, and it included several important features that help to continue Puerto Rico's tradition of diversity. It specifies that public education is free and not segregated, and that public schools will teach in Spanish with English as a subject. It also guarantees freedom of religion among many other rights.
Please click on the image to the left to read the 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Survey Summary.
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