Maria Alejandra Rey
Lorain native Dr. Raquel Ortiz came to the LCCC campus on Oct. 17 to highlight the importance of heritage, bilingualism, and culture; something that Ortiz says is better achieved through art.
The power of sharing stories, the importance of becoming universal, and showing a sense of community for the minority groups of society are the some of the other keys Ortiz highlights through her work.
Although Ortiz stories focus on Puerto Rican heritage, it not the only culture that feels acknowledged but all of the Latin American countries who somehow share a part of their culture through the Spanish or African legacy and heritage.
Ortiz has achieved the ability to touch people of all ages through her children’s book, “Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural/Sofi y el Mágico Mural Musical” and her documentary “Memories on the Wall”. These projects led her to receive the Educational Leadership Award by the National Puerto Rican Parade and the NY League of Puerto Rican Woman Special Recognition.
With the Cinema Hall at Stocker Arts Center primarily filled with artists of all kinds, Ortiz urged them to “Step up to the challenge of creating something good with your art,” as well as going into the fact that when the government fails, the artists step up.
In her book “Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural/Sofi y el Mágico Mural Musical”, one of the principal characters is a “Vejigante” that through the usage of songs and dances, has been historically known for being a form of protest and mockery from the lower classes of Puerto Rico to the wealthy ones in times of Carnaval. “I am not encouraging the kids to riot,” said Ortiz, who says the whole point is not conforming with what is given to them, but looking for ways to show the government that the people deserve and need more.
With hurricane Maria causing severe damages to the island and “the horrific lack of response from the U.S. government” Ortiz has once again made a point to shine a light on the people who are doing the job of supplying basic need to the 3.5 million American citizens who live in the island. “Celebrities are the ones responding to the people’s needs,” said Ortiz. “Artists are the ones spreading the message, and making their voices heard.”
Showing people the importance of rebuilding Puerto Rico is crucial because if the situation is not fixed, “people will come to the mainland!”said Ortiz.