A Thank You Letter To Lin-Manuel Miranda From A Puerto Rican.

A Thank You Letter To Lin-Manuel Miranda From A Puerto Rican.

A voice like Hamilton's in the midst of a crisis.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, composer, rapper, and writer born in New York city to Puerto Rican parents. In 2002, he started working and participated on the off-Broadway musical In The Heights which later in 2008 actually went on Broadway until 2011. This was such a success that Lin-Manuel's performance earned him a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2008.

After In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda worked on various other projects such as composing and writing music as well as appearing in other musicals and TV shows. During this time, he read a biography of Alexander Hamilton and started writing the lyrics to what one day would be the famous Broadway musical Hamilton. Since its off-Broadway premiere in January 2015, this musical has won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, eight Drama Desk Awards, and has set the record by having 16 Tony Award nominations and winning 11 of those Tony Awards this past weekend. Clearly, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been very successful on and off the stage.

I remember last semester my friend and I were on a 3-hour road trip to visit a friend's house and when we started the trip he asked if I had heard about the play Hamilton. I had a faint memory of Alexander Hamilton from US History class in high school, but no idea about the play. During the ride we listened to the entire album on Spotify and I was blown away! The creativity, style, and passion in each song was amazing!

It's clear that he has been an important figure in the world of theater, but not many people know that Lin-Manuel Miranda has also been an important figure in advocating for the financial situation of Puerto Rico. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a much needed voice in this time of crisis; in a time where Puerto Rico is in dire need of help from the United States government, he has been an advocate for us in a unique way.

Many of us in Puerto Rico can relate to the words he wrote in a 2015 article saying, "What can I say to persuade elected officials and policy makers to act? What influence do I have to change the minds and hearts of those in Congress to put aside their differences and deal with the crisis confronting 3.5 million American citizens in the Caribbean?" And that's the question: What can we do?

Lin-Manuel has since decided that he is going to use his voice and skills to help Puerto Rico. On March 2016 he stood before Congress pleading for them to help Puerto Rico face its economic crisis.

A month later John Oliver made a call for relief to Puerto Rico's crisis on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Lin-Manuel was invited to the show where he performed a phenomenal rap making a call to action regarding Puerto Rico's crisis The original video has gone viral with almost 5 million views on YouTube. Here's a clip of his rap:

Where many settled with simply thinking that it is too big a problem to deal with, Lin-Manuel as well as a few other brave people stood up and did what he knew best to do. As a Puerto Rican born and raised, someone who loves and cares about the land I call home, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been an inspiration and a hope to me and many other people. We can make a difference; not all is lost!

So if you're reading this, know that there is still hope. We can still do something about Puerto Rico's situation. You and I can make a difference - we just have to look in the mirror and decide the change starts with ourselves.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, if by any chance you were able to read this: Gracias! Clearly I am a big fan of your performances and I hope to one day have the opportunity to meet you and see you perform on stage, but I am a bigger fan of what you are doing for the land I call home. Thank you for showing me and so many others that we can do something about Puerto Rico. You have been a voice like Alexander Hamilton's to Puerto Rico and I pray more people will be inspired by your example as I have.

Cover Image Credit: Qnary

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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