Community still divided by island, mainland origins
With her red hair and freckles, Elise Brau ’08 surprises many Yalies when she tells them she is Puerto Rican.
“I look like an American kid,” she said.
Hailing from San Juan, Brau is one member of the small group of Puerto Rican Yalies who grew up on the island.
Students and alumni who attended last week’s 35th anniversary celebrations for Despierta Boricua, the Puerto Rican undergraduate student organization, used the occasion to reflect on the significant growth in size and diversity in their community since the first Puerto Rican students arrived on campus in the middle of the 20th century, students said.
While several current members and alumni of DB said differences within the Puerto Rican community are often embraced as ways to spark dialogue about culture, others said the differences can divide groups within the larger community. But many said the past 35 years have seen efforts to bridge the Yale and New Haven Puerto Rican communities and to spread the message of Latino unity.
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