Pride month got an early start Saturday when three influential LGBTQ+ Puerto Rican leaders came together for an installment of Puerto Ricans in Action’s traveling lecture series. The community event, titled “Let’s Talk About Puerto Rico’s LGBTQ+ Community & History,” took place at Mi Centro in Boyle Heights.
Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, an award-winning Afro Lesbian novelist, Dr. Wilfred Labiosa, Executive Director of Waves Ahead, and Alberto J. Valentin Camacho, Executive Director of the first LGBTQ+ advisory board to the Governor of Puerto Rico, spoke about their intersectional work and activism, bringing awareness to the current state of the community on the island. Panelists also offered attendees suggestions on how to stay informed and help Puerto Rico as it still deals with the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Maria
Puerto Ricans in Action is a nonprofit that strives to be the central organizer for the Puerto Rican community in Los Angeles. The organization was founded in 2016 as a result of protests against PROMESA, a law that imposed a fiscal oversight board on the U.S. territory.
“We saw a thirst in Los Angeles for Puerto Rican education, awareness, and some kind of glue amongst the community,” says Puerto Ricans in Action co-founder Nicole Hernández. “As a Puerto Rican from California, it was important for me to create spaces for people who have very little contact with the island or its history to have a place where they can learn and get a better understanding of the culture there.”
Triple Threat Truck, an LA Puerto Rican food truck, catered the event. They offer customers authentic Puerto Rican food including tripleta sandwiches on pan sobao, tostones, mofongo, and coquito pudding.
The ONE Archives Foundation and Latino Equality Alliance, both cultural LGBTQ+ nonprofits in Los Angeles, also helped to organize the event and provide an extensive history of Queer and Trans activism in Puerto Rico.