Tee5s Clothing Store – Art Changes Life Circle Logo Shirt

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A senior in high school at the time, Valentín was right there every night, protesting alongside her mother. “My mom would not allow me to go if I was not there with her keeping me safe,” she recalls. “Ironically, the only time I went without her was the time I was gassed and pepper-sprayed.” She adds, “Honestly, I look at that time very fondly. That was a very particular experience because I was so filled with this genuine outrage, and this anger, and I had all the resources to actually express it. I felt empowered to express it. And I feel like a person that lives in a colony, it is very rare the day that you feel empowered to take action over your circumstances. That was when I truly realized the power that people have over leadership.”

Art Changes Life Circle Logo Shirt

A senior in high school at the time, Valentín was right there every night, protesting alongside her mother. “My mom would not allow me to go if I was not there with her keeping me safe,” she recalls. “Ironically, the only time I went without her was the time I was gassed and pepper-sprayed.” She adds, “Honestly, I look at that time very fondly. That was a very particular experience because I was so filled with this genuine outrage, and this anger, and I had all the resources to actually express it. I felt empowered to express it. And I feel like a person that lives in a colony, it is very rare the day that you feel empowered to take action over your circumstances. That was when I truly realized the power that people have over leadership.”

Art Changes Life Circle Logo Shirt Hoodie

Although Valentín already knew that she was going to pursue a career related to the environment, the island’s situation unwittingly carved out a clear path for her to follow. “Right now, I’m doing an environmental studies degree, but my focus is law policy and planning, so I want to turn that into a law degree afterwards, and then I want to get a doctorate in Caribbean studies in San Juan,” she says. For while Valentín is excited to be able to declare herself an expert in Caribbean environmental studies and the law, above all, she cannot wait to go back to her island. “Leaving Puerto Rico is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she adds. “Every day I miss it, and my only wish is to return to my people and my community, and do the important work for and with the people that are changing our world—because we deserve a better one.”

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