In the midst of the darkness, Loneliness came knocking on my door, unexpectedly, taunting me like an 8th grade bully. The hurricane became my malady and I did not think I could find a cure after loneliness came.
For years, I have been a fan of Stephen Earley Jordan’s creativity and mind, and I am lucky enough to call him a friend. We met in 1999 in the graduate English program at Marshall University. Stephen always stated that I was his sanity in graduate school, but what he may not know is that he was equally mine. Stephen introduced me to a bluntness and openness of mind that I had not experienced before and he had a great influence on my education. For that, I thank him.
In reading Stephen’s post on Hurricane Maria, it would be easy to read it as a Puerto Rican complaining at the current administration’s response to a tragedy; however, this post is a challenge to mainland Americans to admit that they would rather complain about black athletes taking the knee than acknowledge the suffering on Puerto Rico. It is a challenge to those who sit silently while white supremacists walk through our streets proclaiming that they will not be replaced. It is a challenge to those who think that Puerto Ricans are incapable of taking care of themselves when they have been doing it more than 100 years under the federal government of the United States. It is a challenge to those who don’t see that the feelings of black and brown people as important as white feelings.
While I have never doubted Stephen’s determination and survival skills, I hope that those who read this post will recognize the pain and fear often caused by an unjust system that often leaves most of us behind. However, his post reminds us that Puerto Rico is a place where survival is a family affair and love for each other will keep their island going even after a tragedy. I will continue to pray and donate to Puerto Rico as the island recovers, but let us now acknowledge that Puerto Rico will be just fine as long as Puerto Ricans, like Stephen, live there, work there, and love it there.