Homenaje: Sery Colón

In the Christian faith, St. Peter stands guard at the gates of heaven. His job is to read the great book of God to see if those seeking refuge in the afterlife are listed and welcome to enter. In parts of West Africa and smuggled aboard early slave ships to the Caribbean, Brazil and the Americas where the belief exists still to this day, the messenger of the Yoruba faith, a deity by the name of Eleguá, can be found at the crossroads. It is through homage and gifts to him that believers can have their prayers and petitions delivered directly to the gods for consideration.

Sery Colón may be no god, but the job he has taken on quietly over these past thirty-odd years is no less important in terms of protecting Puerto Rican history and culture. In many ways, Sery is indeed a gatekeeper, a guard, a messenger of both the written and spoken word of many Puerto Rican writers, poets and artists. If you visit his home in the Taíno Towers of Spanish Harlem, you will find one-of-a-kind tomes: out-of-print books and, probably, the widest selection and collection of works by Puerto Ricans in both English and Spanish.

An accomplished artist himself with an extensive background in acting, narration, dance and production, Sery is also a cultural activist and the founder of the former Agüeybaná Bookstore named after a powerful Puerto Rican Taíno Indian chief. Through his foundation, Agüeybaná Productions, Sery is involved in a variety of Puerto Rican and Latino cultural events throughout New York City. Even famed Puerto Rican poets, Tato Laviera and Eddie Aguilar, have written poems paying tribute to Sery and his work.

It is said that history is written by the victors. Sery, though, is ensuring that the words of Puerto Rican poets and writers are around for his Boricua people for decades to come. For his steadfast work as the guardian of the Puerto Rican spoken and written word, we pay homage to Sery Colón.

© Ricardo Muñiz. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 28 August 2015.

Centro Voices (ISSN: 2379-3864).
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Centro Voices, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies or Hunter College, CUNY.