This week — a really busy one for me, filled with travel — had many highlights. But one of the most important — and moving — was a day with Boston’s public radio personality and all-around amazing person Jose Masso. The occasion: the informal launch of the Parranda Boston chapter. I spent the earlier part of the day with Jose Masso at WBUR, then met with the Boston Parranderos at Vejigantes, a great Puerto Rican restaurant located in Boston’s Villa Victoria section, a Puerto Rican stronghold. I’ll be writing several articles about Jose and Vejigantes for Forbes; stayed tuned. But in the meantime, here are a few impressions to share with the greater Puerto Rican community, especially those who are not familiar with the Boston Puerto Rican scene:
–There are many boricuas in the Boston area, and they are well represented in business, government, and civic organizations. Hey, I grew up thinking that the Bronx was the northernmost part of Puerto Rico. Boy was I wrong. There are places further north — as we are learning here at Parranda.org — but Boston has one of the most lively and engaged Puerto Rican communities anywhere. We got a nice cross-section of leaders in that community at the meetup this week — leaders from non-profits, the law, the sciences. We’re hoping that with Parranda we can not only further accelerate social networking among boricuas in the Boston area, but also accelerate the scale at which Boston boricuas mix with boricuas throughout the global diaspora.
–Boston’s wealth of academic institutions makes it a potential hub of tech innovation for the Puerto Rican diaspora. And this is coming from a boricua from Silicon Valley. There could be a healthy rivalry for the role of tech hub — Parranda will be doing a similar meetup in the San Francisco Bay Area — but Boston’s far-larger boricua population places this metro in a category of its own. Watch out.
–The boricuas here have many leaders who can play a role in the global Parranda community. Perhaps the most visible is Jose Masso. He has the platform — an established broadcast personality, with an increasingly national and global brand. He has the experience, having participated in Parranda’s historical antecedent, PRFAA. But most of all he has the rare leader’s gift of being able to identify, mentor, and help create new leaders. More on that in a later post. But for now, hats off to the boricuas of Boston like Jose and his brood. The global Puerto Rican party is just getting started, but the Bostonians are showing up in style.