Where is La Placita in the Greater Puerto Rico?

Placita Logo

First thoughts about the blog platform for Parranda.org, and a reflection on the meaning of town squares.

As you know, we are launching Parranda.org – a new project devoted to the economic, civic, and cultural development of a “Greater Puerto Rico – this Christmas season. And as you also already know, the name of our organization was inspired by the Puerto Rican parranda, a Christmas tradition where people roam the neighborhood, knock on their neighbors doors, and take their neighbors with them to continue the party well into the night. In the new world of virtual communication and collaboration, the opportunity is to roam the virtual neighborhood, to knock on virtual doors, and to take people with us on any number of journeys that virtual communities can allow. So for us, the parranda is a metaphor for something that Puerto Ricans need to do but already know how to do. Technology might enhance our ability to come together across borders, but the desire and ability are already there.

In the midst of our launch preparations, we realized that there was an opportunity to speak of another virtual/physical metaphor. During a visit to Puerto Rico last winter, a friend of mine took me to La Placita de Santurce. I had not visited Puerto Rico in many years, but remember visiting it often with my uncle Israel whenever he took me to the island to visit my grandmother. To me, La Placita is a memory from a timewhen most people at least had a connection to a town square, a place where people of all kinds can get together and feel if not actually act on a sense of community. But today, the reality is that town squares are disappearing everywhere – the result of decades of suburbanization, automobile culture, and, yes, virtual communications. But just as technology has contributed the loss of our sense of place, it recently has begun to enable people to come together. Social networks, likeFacebook, have helped leaders to get elected, dictators to be deposed. And with new networks like Parranda, the opportunity is to work on specific issues that matter to all people with a connection to a physical place, the place we call Puerto Rico.

If Parranda is the movement that helps bring us together — and that enables many different conversations and connections to happen — the Placita blog is the general place where we hope we call all meet to discuss issues that matter to us.  The fact is, there are many placitas – both physical and virtual – that will bring us together. But if there could be a single place for Puerto Ricans everywhere to stand up, make their voices heard, and hear back from their neighbors (their fellow parranderos), we’d like to offer this little piece of virtual real estate.

We will begin opening the doors to the Parranda network in the next few days – we’re still installing the windows, and sweeping the floors – and our first focus will be on mapping the Greater Puerto Rico. And there will be future projects. Like entrepreneurship, mentoring, and helping friends and family connect more effectively — and meaningfully — around the world, online and offline. In the meantime, if you have an idea to share with parranderos in La Placita — our virtual town square — let us know. As with everything we’re planning for the Parranda network, La Placita belongs to its members. Hope to hear from you soon.

Happy holiday!

This post is also available in: Spanish


  1. Hi Efrain! Exciting to see someone from Suffolk County. I went to High School there back in the 70s — William Floyd in Mastic Beach — and I have fond memories. I had lots of family in Bayshore and Brentwood. I know there’s a large Puerto Rican community on Long Island. Please help us bring that community to Parranda!

  2. JoaquinGonzalez-Sr. says:

    Hola from Kissimme,Fl. Congratulation to Parranda.org We need you so here in USA they know what iPuerto Rico really and is all about. Ya tengo a toda la familia enterada del web site..Feliz 2013

  3. Esther Sanchez says:

    Hi everyone! A short message from Poinciana, FL. Excited to be part of this website. May God bless you all in this New Year!

  4. Thanks, Esther — and thanks for representing Poinciana!

  5. Hi everyone am glad to join the parranda, saying hello from Orlando, Fl and wishing you all a Happy New Year. Looking forward to 2013.

  6. Thanks, Manny! I have family in Orlando.

  7. Happy and priveledged to be part of a community that will help bridge the Gap and possibly allow us to become an even greater influence within the US maybe even a bridge to the hearts and sentiments of our latino brothers and sisters not just in the Carribean but Central and S.America as well. Also of course the great country of Mexico. Vega Bajeno area norte, Ojo de Agua.

  8. Armando — thanks. I agree. If we can make Puerto Rico right, what about everyone else?

  9. Hi Giovanni, Right away, what comes to my mind is…the question of should Puerto Rico become the 51st State, and why? Giovanni, you and your partners have “hit the nail on the head” with Parranda! All the best to you and yours. Happy New Year!

  10. Thanks, Jose! This would be a great topic for discussion at our summit this Spring. Please help us invite others to Parranda so we can make more of our fellow boricuas heard

  11. Saludos Giovanni y todos los miembros de Parranda,

    Desde Boston un abrazo y felicidades en el 2013.

    Today is the seventh and last day of the celebration of Kwanzaa and inspired by it’s seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, a sense of purpose, creativity and faith – A few thoughts that I submit for your consideration upon reading some of the previous comments as to the potential of this intiative….a) I would venture to say that Clayton Christensen at the Harvard Business School might consider this venture a “disruptive innovation” in light that you have struck a cord in many Puerto Ricans who may be considered “non-consumers” of the number of social media sites that are either Puerto Rican and/or Latino centric such as the monthly sampling shared by Julio Ricardo Varela (a Boricua living in my neighboring town of Milton, MA.) on his “Latino Rebels” facebook page…not that we don’t follow those pages, but that we have been looking for a space that provides what parranda is proposing in connecting Puerto Ricans in the Puerto Rican archipelago with those of us on the mainland with the purpose of developing a “Greater Puerto Rico”…greater both in place and quality of life in this 21st century….b) I have no doubt that each person who joins parranda will contribute to your mission (now I consider this our mission because we are now members) and will add to the public discourse in serious, respectful, meaningful, informative, enlightening and transformative ways…c) I hope to share and learn about successul models such as “Paseo Boricua” in Chicago, the “Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance – SINA” in Hartford, Ct. or “Villa Victoria” in Boston to explore what might be adaptable for our respective communities and circumstances d) I hope that we broaden the usual paradigm of thought when it comes to the four pilars of society (social, cultural, civic, private) in the PR archipelago and communities throughout the mainland to set in motion a series of questions ranging from identity, the role of those of us living in the mainland with regards to the PR archipelago and vice-versa; what shared vision and values do we have for our respective communities, and homeland now and in the future – acknowledging the 21st century realities of challenges and opportunities; the list of questions/themes/topics at all levels is no doubt much, much longer than these few examples…and may prove daunting for many of us…I imagine that the solutions at times will not be simple or a matter of political status – status quo, statehood or independence – it’s much deeper than that in my opinion…..but I believe that a sense of urgency inspired the founders of parranda.org to meet the challenge “pa’lante con fe”.

    During my first trip to Cuba in 2001, despite the hardships, I was struck by the Cuban’s dignity, hospitality, gentleness, patience, indomitable spirit and unquenchable sense of humor. It reminded me of my fellow Puerto Ricans and energized me to refocus my short and long term plans to participate in creating and developing a society that would not only respect Puerto Rican history, culture, values and traditions – but would be vibrant, transformative – “Un Pueblo Nuevo” – A greater Puerto Rico…I look forward to where this “parranda” takes us….and our first gathering in May….un abrazo con mucho afecto, respeto y admiración. JM

  12. Jose — wonderful comment on a great topic. Would you be interested in contributing a blog post?

  13. Looking forward to hear more info about the meeting in the Spring. I have plans to travel and would like to be a part of this event. Please keep me posted.Thanks!

  14. Will do, Esther!

  15. Soy Musico y toco el Cuatro Puertorriqueno. Definitivamente El Concepto De Parranda nos identifica como pueblo. Esta idea de tocar Puertas Ciberneticas y establecer unidad de un pueblo no importa donde estemos hacia Falta y nos fortalece como Pueblo. llevo 11 Anos En Orlando pero toda mi familia esta en Puerto Rico. Realmente me gustaria ver que Puerto Rico Supere los Problemas de Politica y Criminalidad que son los mas que afecta. Tenemos Tanto Potencial y tantas buenas ideas. Dios quiera que se logre parar la Violencia y surjan lideres que Fomenten todas las cosas buenas que nuestra Isla y nuestra gente Puede Ofrecer. Fomentar la comunicacion y colaboracion entre todos es clave para el mejoramiento nuestro sin olvidar nuestras raices y nuestra cultura que influye, co-existe y fortalece Las otras culturas en la que vivimos. Puerto Rico se Caracteriza por ser un Pueblo Alegre a pesar de los Problemas socioeconomicos y politico. Nuestra cultura nos une como pueblo y no debemos Perderla. Tambien ser inteligentes y ayudarnos unos a otros.

  16. Wanda Diaz says:

    Saludos Boricuas desde Pennsauken, NJ. Me siento muy emocionada de poder ser parte de este gran proyecto. Arriba Boricuas!!!

  17. Espero que por este medio podamos poner todas nuestras mentes para disminuir la criminalidad y la gran situacion de jovenes envueltos en drogas y debido a eso se han vuelto criminales.Leyendo el periodico me entero de como han matado gente a diario.Que pena!Estoy segura que hay mas gente buena que mala y se debe de hacer algo por medio de el gobierno,la policia y la comunidad en general,sobre las drogas y la criminalidad.Es tiempo que los Boricuas se unan y encuentren la solucion
    a este gran problema.Quizas se necesitan mas policias dando rondas por los suburvios.C rear un grupo de vecinos que se comuniquen entre si cuando ven a gente que no pertenecen a el area donde viven e inmediatament notifiquen a la policia para que investiquen.

  18. I feel like a new kid on the block ;-)

  19. I think Puerto Rico needs to change for the better of the people. We need to push for a faster result to get Puerto Rico for the statehood status since 60% of the island people voted for it. It will bring more money to the economy of Puerto Rico and more jobs. So tell your congressman in the USA that you want Puerto Rico to be a state.

  20. Saludos de una Boricua que esta en la Isla ahora … aunque soy cuidadana del mundo.

  21. Happy New Year 2013, Our chamber is the only educational and advocate for the EXPORTATION of products of Puerto Rico to Florida via Tampa to I-4 Corridor. We tryed with the administration of Gov. Fortuno but the atention needed to the issue was not take seriously. Next week we start the conversation with Ho. Garcia Padilla. We have almos 900, 000 Boricuas consuming products from other contries when we have healthier, and better products. This year will be a big fight to EXPORT to Florida. I need he,p. sen me an email to PuertoRicanChamberSM@msn.com

  22. Hi Elizebeth — would be happy to speak about this.

  23. Thanks, Awilda!

  24. The new kid is always welcome! (Said the old kid). :)

  25. Wanda — thanks so much for joining us. 2013 can be a turning point for Puerto Rico

  26. Angel — I agree! Puerto Rican can overcome these problems. Hoping that our platform here at Parranda can make a difference! Thank you for joining us, and helping to lead the way

  27. Excellent posting! I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across the internet with the initial article about parranda.org. I can identify with it on many levels, especially as it is a new non-profit, and anything related to the Third Sector comes quite close to my heart.

    I am passionate about promoting philanthropy, community service, volunteerism and solidarity. Those that know me personally, know that this is what I call my mission and true calling in life, and I have enjoyed the evolution of this calling during all these years…

    We Puerto Ricans in general are quite philanthropic, but our true heart and essence is most present when there is a catastrophe, such as a hurricane, earthquake or flood. Yet, very few of us are aware of so many causes around the corner that can use our help, by means of money, service, or an in kind donation.

    I see parranda.org as building bridges from all over the world, uniting us, and discussing a variety of topics that are dear to all of our hearts. I believe that within the conversations we hold at “La Placita”, we could help connect people with more awareness causes that could aid them, but more importantly, where we can discover what we are passionate about and get involved with. I am interested in adding more causes where Puerto Ricans are actively contributing to, thus expanding the database we already have.

    Bonafide non-profit organizations are scattered through the island, but there is so much need to continue promoting their work and impact.

    I commend the initiative of the founders of parranda.org and look forward to meeting more “likeminded people” that want to contribute with something special to make Puerto Rico a happier and safer place again.

    ¡Un abrazo solidario para tod@s!
    ¡Excelente posteo! Estaba muy sorprendida y feliz cuando me topé con el artículo inicial acerca de parranda.org. Pude identificarme con el mismo en tantos niveles, en especial como una nueva organización sin fines de lucro y todo tema relacionado al Tercer Sector me llega bien cerca al corazón.

    Soy apasionada en promover la Filantropía, el servicio comunitario, el voluntariado y la solidaridad. Aquellos que me conocen personalmente saben que esto es lo que llamo mi misión y he disfrutado la evolución del mismo durante todos estos años.

    Nosotros, los puertorriqueños somos en general bastante filantrópicos, pero nuestra esencia es más presente y visible cuando hay una catástrofe como un huracán, terremoto o inundación. Sin embargo, somos muy pocos que estamos conscientes de tantas causas muy cerca de nosotros que podrían beneficiarse de nuestra ayuda , ya sea con dinero, servicio o con una donación en género.

    Veo a parranda.org como un “constructor de puentes” alrededor del mundo, comenzando con todos Ios puertorriqueños a través del mundo, uniéndonos y discutiendo una serie de tópicos que llevamos cerca de nuestro corazón. Creo que entre las conversaciones que llevaremos a cabo en “La Placita”, podemos conectar a más gente con causas que también les pueden ayudar, pero más importante aún, podemos descubrir cuáles son las causas que nos apasionan en lo personal y envolvernos en las mismas. Estoy interesada en colocar más causas donde están envueltos nuestros compatriotas activamente, de este modo, expandiendo aún más la base de datos que tenemos.

    Organizaciones sin fines de lucro bonafides se encuentran alrededor de la isla, pero se necesita más para promover la labor que hacen y su impacto en las comunidades.

    Felicito la iniciativa de los fundadores de parranda.org y estoy muy deseosa de encontrar más gente con los mismos valores e ideales que quieren contribuir con hacer de Puerto Rico un lugar más alegre y especial de nuevo.

    ¡Un abrazo solidario para tod@s!

  28. Desde Oviedo, Fl. al Norte de Orlando, Fl. Lets keep this growing and lets share with every hispanic around the world. Socially, business type and promote P.R. Lets keep it at a proffesional level, and friendly like a true Puertorrican. We are a great force here in the states so dont shy away to speak up and asked if need it. God bless you all and happy 2013.

  29. What do I want to share with my fellows “Parranderos” today?… Well that I’m getting my Home-Office ready to launch the 2013 Tax Filing Season. Supplies have been ordered & most received – Tax Program installed & ready – Office and Office equipment cleaned – my favorite wall of client photos has been updated … Now I look forward to a successful Tax Season, that will perhaps include some Parranderos … that share the “Tax Preparation” industry in P.R. and/or USA … and anyone in need of my services. “2 cosas que no se pueden evitar – Morir y Pagar Impuestos”…” 2 things you cannot avoid – Dying & Paying Taxes”.

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