Over the span of two weeks in the summer, Puerto Rico experienced a series of protests that ended up with the resignation of former Governor Ricardo Rosselló. The protests were a culmination of factors stemming from colonial relations with the US, Hurricane María’s aftermath, economic instability, mass migration, and longstanding cases of corruption.

The publication of Rossello’s Telegram chat revealed chauvinistic, homophobic, classist and racist mindset of the governor and his inner circle as well as their attempts to control media and intimidate their political adversaries. The chat sparked the outrage and political mobilization of the Puerto Rican population, creating a political movement that interestingly claimed to be apolitical. A diversity of voices such as artists, LGBTQIA, Feminists, Puerto Ricans from the Diaspora, members of the university community, among others coalesced to lead an organic movement that had no parallel in Puerto Rican and Latin American history.

The purpose of this conference is to highlight how the actors, witnesses and scholars made sense out of this intense summer. The one-day event will bring together journalists, activists, and community members who took part in the events to share experiences and discuss potential ramifications. Our intent is to present Puerto Rico as an example of a successful political mobilization, a relatively pacific one that can give significant lessons for the US and other countries.

The event provides a forum for students and other members of the UF community and nearby areas to analyze how people in unequal relations of power, and from different backgrounds, are able to organize themselves across political parties to oust corruption and a misogynist, homophobic, racist, and classist government. The conference also supports our diversity initiatives by helping promote Puerto Rican studies and supporting a wide range of perspectives across disciplines and professional schools.