#BoricuaNoTeQuites | Boricuas en North Carolina

My Thank You Letter
By Tania López
Photo Credit : Stephanie’s Photography

Speak to any Puerto Rican in the diaspora and the sense of pride is immediately palpable. It is a feeling that fills our chest with longing, immense love and nostalgia. And if you were born on the island even more so. Not because you are MORE Puerto Rican but because Puerto Rico, the culture, the energy, the people, the little island itself have a way of sort of… branding us. When circumstances forces us to leave, we carry this branding with us and we continually search for this feeling of HOME.

Now, I am privileged to say that I have experienced Puerto Rican culture in different facets. Having a childhood on the island, my teenage years spent among the bustling, Nuyorican culture and now my adulthood, here in North Carolina, which what I feel is a rarity in itself.

What makes the Boricua Community in North Carolina, different? Well, we have the Nuyoricans looking for a quieter lifestyle, the Puerto Ricans that have settled here after years of military life and after Hurricane Maria, the islanders that were seeking either refuge or the opportunity of providing a better life.

I don’t think people understand what an interesting dynamic this creates and the opportunities that this provide the Puerto Ricans in North Carolina. Or the obstacles, if I may speak frankly, and to be honest, I don’t think my friend , Freddy, was prepared for this either. Pero, Mira! The man rocked it! His down to earth, ‘Vamos a janguear’ demeanor has won the hearts of our fast growing Boricua Community.

Featured Freddy Medina | Photo Credit Stephanie’s Photography

To give you a little bit of my background, I have lived in North Carolina since 2006 and at the time it was my experience that the Puerto Rican population was either hiding or assimilated to other Latin American communities. Events available had a ‘multicultural’ approach where our Latin Caribbean culture was poorly represented, if at all. As I mentioned above, that nostalgia, that calling from our little island is STRONG, and here comes Freddy. What I believe started as just wanting a sense of community, buenos tiempos with our fellow Puerto Ricans, tal vez un par de cervecitas, you know, a chinchorreo, has grown to the point where the last one a few weeks ago was a host to over 15k people. Can you imagine? Thousands of Puerto Ricans who traveled from all of NC just to be among OUR people and we had a GREAT time. Even my mother who never enjoys festivals was so happy and excited that after 2 decades of living in NC she finally felt at home with ‘tanta gente bonita’.

Now I’m not saying that NC has not seen other Puerto Rican events, it has, but where they lacked, in my opinion, is the welcoming feeling of FAMILY. Not just a concert hosted by strangers, paid off the backs of the public, or vendors. Not just an event where you are just a number as a sign of a successful event.

For those new to the group, the admin team of Boricuas en North Carolina have successfully hosted over 10 Chinchorreos and festivals, as well as other community events and outings. They have lent their time to provide aid to other organizations, educational access and more.

Some of the Team Members BNC | Photo Credit: Freddy’s Phone

With all of this being said though, are we, as the public, aware of all that must take place in order for a single event like this to take place?

We are talking obscuring sponsors (this is where that number is important) venues, permits and licenses (food, liquor, road closures if required, etc…) , vendors, performers, sound, lighting, parking, photography, marketing, volunteers, thousands of phone calls and emails and darn it so many FREE hours.

Featured Naty Medina | Photo Credit: Stephanie’s Photography

Is your head spinning yet?

I am amazed that Freddy and his team have been able to do all of this, which I have reminded him, time and time again over the years, without a profit and STILL make us , the public feel… at home.

Features Loraine Johnson | Photo Credit Stephanie’s Photography

This is where I want to express my gratitude to my dear friend, Alfredo ‘Freddy’ Medina as well as his beautiful family, Naty and Alfredito. This is where I want to say thank YOU, to the amazing team of Boricuas En NC. I wish to take this time, because the general public do not understand the sacrifice this team has made. The tears, sweat and quality time away from their families they have given up to make ALL of the Chinchorreos since 2019 a reality.

Have we taken this act of generosity on their part for granted? Myself included. I certainly believe so. Because no where else can we expect to have an event for the ENTIRE family. Y gratis! No where else can someone as myself, an artist, have the opportunity to connect on a personal level with my people at a minimal cost on my part, no where else can you be so close to the stage as to feel that you are PART of the show or the show come down to you for that matter. No where else can you feel at home in a sea of strangers.

Do you feel the same? Or is this just me?

Now I do not write this as part of the #FreddyNoTeQuites campaign, I write this in conjunction of their #BORICUAnoTeQuites campaign. Because I do know that our Boricua community was not as united prior to Freddy and his team putting forth the effort. I pray that we come together and give back to the community we love. Give back to Freddy and his family and the entire team of Boricuas en NC. Our next chapter MUST reflect the work that Freddy and his team have accomplished through out the years.

Throwback 2019

October 22nd, 2022 is Boricua Fest. The last event scheduled for this chapter. If you can donate, please do so. If you can volunteer your time, I’m sure it’ll be appreciated. As to the next chapter, what do you guys think? Can we make it happen?

Check Out Event Details

Again, many thank yous to the team behind Boricuas en NC. Freddy, Naty, Loraine, Karol, Gianco, Christian, Melbelys, Wilmarie, Sergio and the rest of the team that has contributed to this community and these events.

To support by Purchasing a T-Shirt visit HERE!

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