La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc. [“La Casa”] is a not-for-profit cultural, education and research organization founded in 1983 by Puerto Rican pioneers to promote, enrich, and preserve Puerto Rico’s national culture, literature and arts. La Casa advocates for, and celebrates the advancement of the community through programs, events, and workshops in New York City, Puerto Rico, and beyond.
Puerto Rican cultural heritage is a topic that goes way beyond that beautiful archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, which includes the main island, Vieques, Culebra, Mona, and smaller islands. While the roots of the culture originate there, the nation has blossomed throughout the diaspora, past oceans of time and space, leaving an unusually bright mark in the universe. But it is not because of the wonderful beaches, or the incredible rain forest. It is her people, the unique culture, and history, from San Juan, to outer space.
A Puerto Rican once sang, “Que Bonita Bandera”, while orbiting the planet at 17,150 miles per hour. It is a privilege and honor for us to explore the connections through the arts, literature, history, and social movements of the Puerto Rican nation to see why a person would do that.
Cultural heritage is what connects indigenous Taíno, Africans, and Spaniards through colonial rule, piracy, slave trade, and industrial development, to NASA astronaut Joseph M. Acaba.
The Puerto Rican universe is indeed epic in scope relative to its geographic origins. But there’s a map that clearly and beautifully connects the dots, and displays the boundaries. That map is our national culture, and the unyielding spirit of the Puerto Rican people, generation after generation, era after era, from one colonial government to another.
No matter how small the islands appear on the map, the universe is brighter because of Puerto Rico’s distinct style, voice, and passion for life.
From the days the Spaniards invaded and colonized the native Taínos, through the European-American Slave Trade, to El Grito de Lares revolt of 1868, through all the piracy that came before and after, the US invasion and colonization, to El Grito de Jayuya revolt, to stopping the US Navy from using Vieques as target practice, to the Summer of 2019 revolt that ousted the colonial governor, and through all the things in between, there is a distinct culture and national affirmation that connects the dots.
We are honored to nurture, preserve, and add to that map of the Puerto Rican experience.
Despite centuries of natural and man-made disasters, the Puerto Rican story continues to unfold. Although the United Nations concluded on more than one occasion that “Puerto Rican people constitute a Latin American and Caribbean nation that has its own and unequivocal national identity”, Puerto Ricans on the islands continue to bare the weight of political and economic calamity under colonial rule. And that affects everything.
As with all nations around the world, politics seeps into the culture, the arts, and into the blood of the people — as it should. And through our history, we can easily identify a sense of never-ending struggle as a recurring theme; “la lucha”.
That constant battle for survival is not always healthy, nor conducive to growth. Struggle is good, so long as it is followed by growth and true progress. That development and prosperity, whether as a person, or a nation, is sometimes marked by a resurgence of spirit, and a major shift in policy that can open new doors, new chapters, and new levels of evolution. That is what we see in the national culture, as with most countries in the world: a constant push forward, “pa’lante”, toward a better world for ourselves, and a greater life filled with new discoveries.
From Luisa Capetillo to Jennifer Lopez, from Ramón Emeterio Betances to Bruno Mars, Puerto Rican history and culture trails behind them all like a comet across the heavens.
We hope you enjoy our events, programs, and workshops, and join in the conversation on Facebook. As a non-profit, we appreciate any tax-deductible contribution you can make to further our mission. Thank you.
Some of our recent and upcoming events: