So many of us are immigrants, having moved from our island of Puerto Rico or from another state to South Florida. The reasons are many but usually revolve around new business opportunities, family commitments, or the desire for a better life for our children. This move can bring upheaval, as we dig up our roots and replant them in new soil.
What than, do we look for? Is it new business contacts, friendships, or romantic relationships? One common theme is a sense of belonging, but for the Puerto Rican immigrant it is much more than that. It is the need to maintain the culture for ourselves and our children. It is also Nostalgia for what we left behind. There is no greater comfort than to hear our “Ay Bendito!” smell our Sofrito, or taste a guineitos en escabeche. These are a few of the reasons we search for “nuestra gente”.
More than 13 years ago a group of Puerto Rican professional men and women came together with these thoughts in mind and formed PROFESA. Their vision was very simple and clear: to establish a platform where fellow Puerto Ricans could maintain their culture, network, and feel empowered. Their vision evolved to include service to the less fortunate Puerto Rican. A few years back, a newcomer came to her first PROFESA event. As she left she said: “Buscaba un grupo como este, y por fin me siento como si estuviera en familia.”
To All “Newcomers”: Welcome, and to Returning Friends: Welcome back.
Daphne Santa, Chair
The Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida / PROFESA