In the month following her historic gold medal winning performance at the Olympics, Puerto Rican tennis star Mónica Puig landed sponsorship deals with AT&T and Dodge. Judging from the number of billboards congratulating her for her victory and paid for by a host of local and multinational corporations, she will surely be popping up in a bevy of ads in the months to come. Who knows? She might even get one or two of the sponsors that have dropped NFL players this month for their reluctance to stand during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of police violence against African American communities.
I’m kidding, of course. Puig’s ads—I think—only run in the Island, where people have been refusing to stand for the playing of the U.S. National Anthem for well over a century now. This, by the way, is reason enough for oppositional, social justice-oriented efforts and campaigns on the Island to establish working and caring links with the Black Lives Matter movement on the mainland. Another reason is that Afro-Puerto Rican people’s lives are threatened in a similar way by the Puerto Rican police and the justice system in general. Yet another is that Puerto Rico’s historic reluctance to broach systemic racial discrimination could only be analyzed, attacked and overturned by a radical, on-the-street and complex movement such as Black Lives Matter.