Listening to Centro’s Voices: Welcome

Today, there are more Puerto Ricans living in the United States than Puerto Rico, and they are more dispersed than ever, with Central Florida and the South displacing New York and the Northeast as ports of entry and the fastest growing enclaves. Significantly, first generation migrants represent a minority of our population as two-thirds of stateside Puerto Ricans were born in the United States, not on the island. The historical context for Puerto Ricans has changed as well, with a growing pan-Latino presence that now constitutes the largest ethno-racial group in the country and the resulting heightened culture wars.

Despite these significant demographic, socio-economic and cultural transformations affecting Puerto Rican communities, there are few mechanisms linking these communities and sharing information about the challenges and aspirations of our people. The question now is: What is the role of The Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) in this new changing milieu? Centro Voices is part of the answer to such a critical question.

Over the last four decades, Centro which had been New York-area centric, has started building the capacity to facilitate a national network of Puerto Rican community leaders, academics and historical preservationists. Our organizational assets and capacity already include unique resources for the Puerto Rican community nationwide: nationally focused research, the availability of the contents of our Library and Archives to all, and an ongoing program to digitize our material. We have also recently begun  direct outreach to Puerto Rican communities outside the New York area. Our identity has evolved with our youth as they challenge preconceived ideas of who is and what is Puerto Rican.

With the re-launching of Centro Voices, newly conceived and newly designed, we take a momentous step towards providing a national, web-based platform for the exchange of ideas and scholarship not regularly covered by traditional academic journals. In Centro Voices, you will find essays, fiction, memorias, research, opinion, history, poetry and art.

We envision Centro Voices as the online magazine that chronicles and preserves the dynamic lives, histories and culture of Puerto Ricans and their communities in the mainland United States, a place where contributions and conversations between well-established members of the community as well as newcomers can add to our vast history with bi-weekly multimedia entries.

There are many ways you can contribute to the success of Centro Voices. The fact that you are reading this reflects an interest in a magazine such as this. You can be involved with Centro Voices as a contributor by submitting your writings, photography and/or video pieces following our editorial guidelines. This first issue demonstrates the diverse styles, approaches and topics that we seek to cover with this magazine.

Moreover, spreading the word about Centro Voices by sharing its articles and content through social media helps us reach a wider audience while opening the space to better reflect the best of our communities with contributed pieces. And finally, if you like what you find, please tell your friends and family and work associates that there’s a fascinating, lively and comprehensive new magazine in their town, and it’s Centro Voices.

Enjoy this first issue – and many more to come.

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.