A Letter From Resist Grantee CEPA

Dear Resist Supporter,

I don’t really know you, and you don’t know me… but I know we have a lot in common. I believe, like me, you care deeply about fighting oppression, advocating for the marginalized, breaking the chains of colonization, and bringing power to the people. I know that because you support Resist.

(Dr. Melissa Rosario (right) and CEPA co-coordinator Laura Patricia (left) at the Paro General, which led to the ousting of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on July 22nd)

Thank you for being a part of this beautiful group of people.

My name is Dr. Melissa Rosario, and I run CEPA (Center for Embodied Pedagogy and Action), an organization dedicated to decolonizing and healing in Puerto Rico. A people-led resistance takes a constant toll on its warriors, which is why we work to heal. The more resilient we are as a movement, the longer we can keep up the good work. Our goal is ambitious and long term — and really, really easy for mainstream funders to ignore.

But that changed when we found Resist. Before our first grant, we had big aspirations and just one seminar under our belt. Now, we’ve done more workshops than I can count. We have a home base called the Casa Taller where we live and work, and includes a movement room, apartment for solidarity visitors and an apothecary. And because of this little bit of security we have thanks to our incredible supporters, we can open our arms wide to help others.

We have a garden where we grow pumpkins so big, and passionfruit so juicy and abundant, that we can no longer park the car in the driveway. With this small act, we are reclaiming the ancestral practice of cultivating our lands and restoring reciprocal relationships by sharing our harvest. We understand that local self-reliance, or deep interdependence, is key to building regenerative societies of the future.

We have a movement room where we sit together in a circle and plan; with this, we can support, strengthen, and strategize with fellow resistance organizations.

We have an apothecary in which we make medicines; connecting with local plants helps us begin to compensate for the island’s dismal healthcare.

And we have a roof over our heads, with doors we can open to individuals in an unstable living situation or to diaspora folx who are (re) connecting to the island and give them a place to stay where they can feel safe and heal.

We have these tools of healing and love thanks to incredible funders like Resist.

Puerto Ricans are constantly being sold a myth of our colonized nature — that we’re dependent, incapable, and broken forever. But we know these falsehoods are simply a tool of oppression.

Because the healthier we are, the stronger the resistance.

As a grantee, it’s rare to see truly radical philanthropists who want to amplify other voices across the movement. Thank you for standing up with us. No other funder champions progressive grassroots organizations like Resist does — with such passion and dedication for the cause.

From the bottom of my heart, I’m grateful for your friendship and support. Any friend of Resist’s is a friend of mine. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Melissa Rosario

P.S. When CEPA received our first onboarding documents from Resist, it said in bold type across the top, “THIS IS NOT OUR MONEY.” It was shocking to me because most funding institutions want all the credit. Not Resist. They make it clear that it’s your generosity and commitment that fuels their work in support of grassroots movements like ours, and others around the United States. Together, with your help, we are too strong to be ignored. Thank you.