This is my first post on the blog, so this seemed to be a perfect topic for me to start with: what is a Nuyorican? It’s probably one of the most asked questions by audience members at the post-show Q & A discussions. Understandably, many audience members had never heard of the term (I must confess I hadn’t either before reading the script).
Quite simply, Nuyorican is a combination of the phrases “New York” and “Puerto Rican” and refers to people of Puerto Rican culture living in or near New York City. The term originated around the mid-to-late ’60s and was popularized in 1975 when the Nuyorican Poets Cafe was founded by poets and playwrights Miguel Pinero (“Short Eyes”), Pedro Pietri (“Puerto Rican Obituary”), and Miguel Algarin in NYC.
Today, over 30 years later, the Nuyorican Movement remains strong and continues to thrive with artists and everyday people who proudly call themselves Nuyorican. To be Nuyorican is not simply a category on a census form: it is a state of mind. It is to be part of an intellectual movement. It is to have pride in their past and their present. It is the fight through a common struggle. It is strength.
That is why “Patrick” is adamant in wanting to be identified as Nuyorican and why he is ultimately disappointed, and later becomes disillusioned with the situation at Belmont College, when he feels he cannot.
In closing, I’d like to thank all the audience members who’ve stayed for the Q & A’s and shared their feelings on the play and the topics it raises. It’s a tough subject matter and there are no easy answers, but it’s always great to have a dialogue and hear different viewpoints – because we’re all in this together.
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