Being Hispanic and having had the opportunity to study in the United States fills me with great pride. I experienced racism for the 1990s as a student and I made it as an opportunity for growing learning as a counselor. To this day I still experience racism. I became an independent, confident and optimistic person.
Sometimes we think that racism only occurs in people of different races when it also occurs in the same ethnic group. I remember visiting an office to request a service and the person ignored me despite being from my country or on another occasion going to a bank and the person was Hispanic but refused to speak the language. Sometimes people are unaware that Puerto Ricans are born with American citizenship and our country is part of the US. I have heard people who still think that here on this island riding horses and on foot when it is a developed country.
Whenever I travel I love to share with people from different places such as the Dominican Republic, Grand Caymans, Mexico, Grenada, Jamaica, Colombia, Aruba, Costa Rica, Panama, Barbados, Dominica, St Marteen, Antigua, Honduras and they have shared with me how they have felt discriminated. Learn about their culture, customs, traditions and eating their food. Acquiring crafts and sitting down to dialogue with them makes me see how we share the same feeling of pride to our countries. It is clear the desire that in the eyes of the world we should all be equal regardless of our skin tone and nationality.
— Prof. Maribel Pagan, MA, LPC