Honoring the Womxn Who Have Shaped our Work and the Legacies they Left Behind on International Women’s Day 2022

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Save the date for the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s annual International Women’s day Celebration this March 8, 2022.  This annual celebration has been a major part of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s history since the 80’s.  Throughout the years the celebration has taken on various characteristics ranging from a ceremony and market of women owned businesses to teach-ins, to award ceremonies honoring women in our community.  No matter how the Womxn’s committee of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center decides to celebrate this international day of celebration, the tradition has always been to honor the women who have impacted our work of promoting the self-determination, self-actualization, and self-reliance of the Puerto Rican people. 

Coincidentally, February and March are also the birth months of two incredible Puerto Rican women who have heavily influenced the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s work; Doña Consuelo Lee Corretjer (March 29, 1904) and Julia De Burgos (February 17, 1914).  The legacy these women left behind are immortalized in the everyday work of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.  Both women brought to this world profound conceptualizations of justice and love, which we try to live by everyday at the PRCC.  

Our slogan for the PRCC “To Live and Help to Live” came from one of Doña Consuelo Lee Corretjer’s iconic quotes; “Long ago this idea was placed as the cornerstone to construct the philosophy of egoism: “live and let live”, in place of the human philosophy: “Live and help others to live”.  This last concept is fundamental for a human life that bases itself in cooperation and responsibility, which is in essence love”.  Doña Consuelo Lee Corretjer’s teachings of human cooperation and responsibility are major influences in the teachings of our Childcare Center, which bears her name, because she always understood the importance of the next generation to carry on our work. 

Similarly, Julia de Burgos is immortalized in the consciousness of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in many ways, particularly with a mural dedicated to her at our shelter for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing houselessness, El Rescate.  Julia de Burgos, a brilliant Queer Afro Boricua Woman was known for her powerful poetry, which spoke to issues of love, injustice, feminism, colonialism, slavery, and the national identity of Puerto Rico.  The mural at El Rescate incorporates Burgos’ last poem titled “Farewell in Welfare Island”, which speaks so poignantly to the prison of dependency and absence of freedom in the presence of welfare.  In this way Burgos is a constant reminder of our fight against dependency and that we must approach all our work through solidarity not charity.

It has been vital throughout the existence of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center to constantly reflect on the work and teachings of women in our work, because they have been the silenced warriors.  In the Puerto Rican independence movement and most social movements throughout the US, men become the voice/face while women carry the organizing labor.  The Womxn’s Committee of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s International Women’s Day celebration has always been a time to honor the unsung heroes of our community.  We hope you will join us on March 8th, 2022!  

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