For this first installment of #LatinoRebels10 in celebration of Latino Rebels’ 10th anniversary, we return to the first story that got us some early attention just weeks after we launched the site in 2011. For more installments, click here.
It wasn’t a big petition by online standards but it struck a nerve with many Puerto Ricans in New York and revealed the uneasy relationship with sponsors and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. All because of a tweet that got our attention:
— Tato Torres Sáez (@TatoBrujo) June 1, 2011
The chatter was so intense online that it led to a story at the time by Fox News Latino, where on June 2, 2011 —less than one month after LatinoRebels.com was launched— our founder Julio Ricardo Varela was already being quoted as a “social media influencer.”
Julio Ricardo Varela, a social media influencer and found of Latinorebels.com, said the online buzz has shined a spotlight on the controversy that would have remained in the dark otherwise.
“It’s not about getting 30,000 signatures,” Varela said. “It’s about finding the right niche… and making change happen.
“The controversy was generated by a tweet,” he added. “It spread, other Puerto Rican activists got offended, and we started covering the story and created the petition.”
Miller Coors had to issue a statement and the NYC Boricua circles were starting to talk about this new group called Latino Rebels, and how did they elevate this issue?
It would be an issue that LR would follow over the next few years, especially with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Here are just a few headlines that we published:
Then in 2015, it was the New York Daily News that stepped in it with stereotypical portrayals of the parade.
More controversy with the parade happened in 2017 when it honored Oscar López Rivera. Yes, Goya was involved too.
You can read all the stories Latino Rebels has covered about the parade over the years here, but we will never forget those first few weeks in 2011 that put us on the map, so much so that eventually Latino Rebels was becoming a definitive outlet in covering Puerto Rico both with the Diaspora and on the island. For example, one year later, it was all about what ABC’s “Work It” show was saying about Puerto Ricans and
We actually have an entire category about Puerto Rico on our site that is 45 pages long as of 2017, and those stories don’t even include what happened in late 2012-early 2013, when La Comay was let go from WAPA-TV.
Yes, we know that one was complicated and yes, the puppet is back on the air in Puerto Rico, but we at Latino Rebels believe that if it wasn’t for our early work those weeks in 2011 with EMBORÍCUATE and how we connected with an active group of Puerto Rican voices, we wouldn’t be an outlet that has had an impact in the Puerto Rican community.
So thanks, MillerCoors.