Puerto Rican Narratives: Historias Orales de Mujeres Resilientes is an oral history project dedicated to all women who continue to resist.
Present in these oral histories is the woman and her experience as it was living in Puerto Rico during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The documented stories were collected with the following intentions: (1) to create, develop, and preserve a record that would boost the voices of Puertorriqueñas, (2) to look at the lives of Puertorriqueñas in the aftermath of disaster through a human rights lens, using the real experiences of the human as the centerpiece, (3) to construct a form of accessible knowledge that adds to the conversations surrounding Puerto Rico, and (4) to fill a gap in previous research by introducing the first-hand accounts of local Puertorriqueñas who have survived, and continue to survive every circumstance of compounded disaster and crisis.
Grounding this project is a theoretical framework termed the feminization of disaster. An original contribution, the feminization of disaster is a conceptualization that aims to explain why women are negatively affected and have their vulnerabilities further exacerbated in the aftermath of disaster and crisis. The introduced theory interprets that this is due to the different socially-constructed vulnerabilities present in the living conditions of modern women; the vulnerabilities referred to being existing political and economic gender inequalities, and the societal roles women may knowingly or unknowingly assume. This way of thinking supposes that how one experiences disaster and crisis is a reflection of the constructed global distribution of power. More clearly, risk and impression to disaster and crisis is a reflection of the social relations that are present in society.
In application of a human rights lens, the uniqueness of Puerto Rico is recognized, both present and historically. “Post”-colonial legacies and the oppressive policies that have followed, the growing severity of natural disasters consequently due to the climate crisis, and the violent results of machismo culture and gender inequality are just a few the violating conditions in which all Puertorriqueños have had to adapt to for survival. On the archipelago there is an ongoing dehumanization of residents, where Puertorriqueños are being denied the right to define how they exist as a consequence of larger global systems of power and privilege; it is categorized as dehumanizing because often it is not by choice, or of their own fault.
To the outsider, it is difficult to understand the emotional, cultural, economic and societal extent of this plight, only emphasizing the importance of amplifying the voices of those who continue to resist. My research aims to amplify the voices of those historically silenced, but in need of being heard.
Puertorriqueñas are the voices of solidarity, survival and power. At the core, Puerto Rican Narratives: Historias Orales de Mujeres Resilientes is a project about women and the stories they choose to tell. This posits an emphasis on the fact that people and their lives matter, but also how they tell the stories of their own lives matters.
The women in this project each present a unique story. In general, some of the topics covered are as follows: lack of adequate aid by the federal and local governments, collective desperation which sometimes led to violent outcomes, strengthening of community as many were left to recover themselves, strength, growth and resilience after disaster and crisis, and a new attention to change for to many there was a life before- and later after- Hurricane Maria.
Submissions from 2022
Interview with Amanda Collazo, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Angelita Duran, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Cecilia Lopez, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Jacqueline Garcia Perez, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Jazmine Laureano Soto, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Líana Vasquez, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Lizzette Avilés, Zaarela Palacios
Interview with Mariela Figueroa Santiago, Zaarela Palacios