If you missed the opening of this wonderful artisan and author event, no worries– the 2020 National Puerto Rican Virtual Artisans Fair & Book Expo will continue for one year! So, you have plenty of time to peruse our vendor pages and to order books or hand-crafted items for those on your holiday gift list, and beyond.
This year, I’m honored to be a participating author. I invite you to visit the well-appointed and easy-to-navigate pages created by our webmaster extraordinaire, Vivian Monserrate Cotte.
Many thanks to Olga Ayala, Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor, and Teresa A. Santiago and others for making this annual event a possibility and a success.
Stay safe. Wear your mask. Practice safe distancing this holiday season. We want to see you on the other side of this pandemic.
Happy reading and writing.
Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.
Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and a collection of poems, titled “Thoughts on Near-Fictional Relationships”. The poems are about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.
Once again, I’m proud to support and to participate in the National Puerto Rican Virtual Artisans Fair and Book Expo to be held on November 21 and 22, 2020. The virtual event (because 2020) is sponsored by Comité Noviembre and PRIDA, Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Puerto Rican artists and the arts.
In the last seven months, the world as we knew it has changed in ways that will leave powerful marks on all our lives. Many of us have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us have been sick and have survived. We have lost our jobs, our homes, and are uncertain of our future. Yet our spirit of giving back and assisting the less fortunate has persevered. It is in this collective of undeniable courage, hope, and love that Comité Noviembre is moving forward.
Although we are greatly saddened that we will not be able to be at our home, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, we are proud of our incredible partnership over the past 11 years and promise that we will be back at Hostos next year for Comité Noviembre’s 35th anniversary.
The Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts (PRIDA) was founded in 2013, by a group of dedicated artisans and cultural activists, Olga Ayala, Luis Cordero, Lourdes García, and Comité Noviembre’s Teresa A. Santiago. Today PRIDA continues to be an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Puerto Rican artists and the arts.
We hope you will support the many wonderful artisans and authors participating in the Comité Noviembre National Puerto Rican Virtual Artisans Fair & Book Expo and on November 21, 2020, visit each participants’ page, shop their products, and share with friends!
On behalf of the National Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & Book Expo Committee,
Artisan, Olga Ayala Handicrafts (Hecho A Mano)
Co-Chair, National Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & Book Expo
Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor, Esq.,
Author and Co-Chair, National Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & Book Expo
Congratulations to President-Elect Joseph Robinette Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Devi Harris! Yes, yes, yes!
What a year. What a battle. What a win.
CNN called Joe Biden the winner at 11:24 on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Thank God. After days of waiting with little sleep, anxiety, adrenaline, and fear, waves of emotion washed over me as images, numbers, and percentages flashed across the TV screen. We’d won. Yet fear and the painful memory of 2016 plagued me—was it real? Had we really won? I couldn’t bear another defeat, not by this president. Not by one who’d done so much damage, and caused so much fear, death, and division during a global pandemic. I sat motionless for a few minutes.
It was real. I opened the front door of my home in a very red state and yelled, “We did it!”. I wondered when my neighbors would take down their trump flag. I watched more election returns and wept tears of joy, relief, and hope as the celebrations erupted in NYC and in Washington, DC.
My cell phone started ringing and pinging with text alerts. My friend and fellow Boricua, Norma Burgos, Facetime’d me from Puerto Rico with several of her good friends. We whooped and hollered and blew kisses to each other. My son and his girlfriend called from Bangkok. We could hardly hear each other as we shared our joy and relief with each other. My daughter, a mental health therapist, had back-to-back sessions on Saturday, so we didn’t share until later in the day, but I knew she and her boyfriend were ecstatic and relieved.
An hour later, I couldn’t shake the sadness. Sadness because the race was so damn close. Too damn close. But I pushed those feelings aside. A celebration was in order.
Victory! Former Vice President Joe Biden became President-Elect Joe Biden. Americans spoke with their votes and hard work. We proudly share in the victory, which wouldn’t have been possible without women of color. Period. Joe Biden, a decent, empathic, compassionate man, was the only man who could have defeated trump. It was his time, his destiny to win, and to lead this country during and God help us, after the global novel coronavirus pandemic. To be sure, it’s an overwhelming and heavy responsibility—Joe and Kamala are more than ready and equipped for the challenge.
Senator Kamala Devi Harris became the first black person, first woman, first Asian American woman elected to the office of Vice President of the United States. Holy shit, it finally happened—Harris shattered the glass ceiling. She achieved what I’d prayed Hillary Clinton could do in 2016. Bravo! Harris was a formidable running mate. She is an exceptional woman. I cheered for her, for all women, young women and little girls. This was a long, long, long overdue victory.
Of course, I thought of Hillary Clinton and the millions of women who’d fought so hard for her. But I couldn’t go there. The last four years have been stressful as hell. Traumatic and stressful. Trump and the Senate GOP attacked American citizens. Our institutions. They attacked our democracy. Americans died and millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, and their hope. Migrant children are still in jails across this country. I won’t forget.
The last four years often felt like a battle between good and evil. Between sane actions and behavior and inhumane treatment of human beings. Dramatic, but true.
If anyone had/has any doubt over the deep divisions in our country, the numbers speak loud and clear. We are a divided nation. We distrust each other. We don’t understand each other.
Van Jones, an analyst on CNN, said it best, “It’s easier to be a parent this morning. It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids character matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters … For a lot of people it’s a good day.”
What about healing this country? Coming together as Americans, as a country? Get out of here with that healing stuff. It’s too soon. I don’t have a clue how we will heal and what that will look like.
Has trump called to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris? Has trump conceded and promised a fair and smooth transfer of power? No, he hasn’t. Is he still pouring gasoline on the flames? YES, he is. A few minutes ago, trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Why?
Healing our differences. I can’t go there today. Maybe after January 20, 2121. Today, I rejoice and rest, donate and support Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia for the two seats we need to win the Senate.
No, we didn’t get the blue wave we’d hoped for, but I don’t care. Quit pointing fingers. We won. They lost.
Stay safe. Wear your mask. 71 days to go. Here we go.
Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the multi-award-winning author of the best-selling novel, A DECENT WOMAN, a novel set in 1900 Puerto Rico, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor is writing her second novel, THE LAMENTS, set in 1926 Puerto Rico and continues to work on her poetry collection. She lives with a sweet Chihuahua named Sophie and dreams of returning to the island of her birth as soon as humanly possible.
The day is here. It was a major relief to log onto West Virginia’s Absentee Ballot Tracking website and see my absentee ballot counted in black and white. I took a screenshot for posterity and made a pot of coffee. So, of course, I sat at the writing desk and penned this at 3:30 this morning.
I agree with Joe Biden—”Show Up BIG!” Let’s win, history-making BIG! Our children, grandchildren, and future generations will thank us. Our ancestors will smile upon us. You will feel hopeful, more positive, and stronger because:
You didn’t just vote; you spoke. You made your presence known, loud and clear. You took a stand. You helped save our democracy. You inspired others. You protected millions of others: the young, the elderly, the vulnerable, the incarcerated, the abused. You honored our loved ones and friends who tragically and senselessly died from COVID-19. You voted for our planet, for science, the animals, the environment. You voted for the small separated ones, the alone ones, the frightened ones, the motherless ones. You voted for Puerto Ricans who cannot vote in Presidential elections. You voted for peace, integrity, decency, honor, compassion, and respect.
Thank you to all the poll workers and all those who worked tirelessly to make Election Day 2020 work and exceed our wildest dreams and expectations.
By voting in this historic election in 2020, you stood on the right side of history. Each vote will send a clear message—we don’t want Trump in the White House, our house! Hopefully, his GOP allies will follow him out the door soon afterward.
Win or lose, we will have done our best. We did our civic duty. We spoke. We showed up. We voted to take our country back.
Even today, Election Day, in some states you can still register to vote! Go to http://www.iwillvote.com for your state’s specific voting information. Don’t delay!
Vote Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote blue all the way down the ballot.
Today is the day. Our day. It feels like a BLUE day, doesn’t it?
Stay safe. Be patient. Wear your mask. Ignore Trump.