DEVELOPING SOLIDARITY, PUERTO RICO
Corporación Piñones se Integra (COPI)
The neighborhood of Piñones is famous for its gastronomy, its amazing beaches and lagoons, the largest continues mangrove forest in Puerto Rico, its music and afro-Caribbean culture. It is also famous for its long and hard struggle for survival.
The privileged location of this neighborhood has resulted in a relentless harassment from developers and corrupt politicians interested in turning the neighborhood into an exclusive resort for the wealthy, pushing out the afro-Caribbean community that has lived there for centuries. However, the community has resisted the same way it has done since the 1700s, producing, organizing and defending their homes from local and foreign attacks.
Piñones is part of the municipality of Loíza, a municipality of approximately twenty-nine thousands residents, located in the northern cost of the main island of Puerto Rico, a few miles east of San Juan (Puerto Ricos's Capital). The area was inhabited by Taino tribes at the Spanish invention in the early 1500s. According to some accounts, the name of Loíza comes from the name of Yuiza, a Taino leader (caciquesa), who ruled the region at that time.
After exterminating the Taino population, working them to death, Spaniards brought to the area people from the west coast of Africa, mostly from the Yoruba communities in current day Nigeria. Africans worked, as slaves, in the sugar cane plantations which substituted gold mining as the main economic activity at the time. Africans also sowed the seeds of the afro-caribbean culture found in n Loíza. today.
Loíza is one of the municipalities with the lowest per capita income in Puerto Rico ($7, 235). It also has one of the highest unemployment rates at 26.4% (73.9% for people age 16 to 19 and 46.6% for people 20 to 24). DS works with local partners, residents, particularly young people, from Piñones to address some of these issues by creating jobs through the development of microenterprises, promoting cultural education and awareness with its afro-caribbean music and dance groups and its advocacy for environmental protection and the sustainable development of the area.
Work advocating for the protection of the natural environment of the area, one of the most beautiful and diverse in Puerto Rico.
or working with youth to promote cultural awareness through the music and dance troop “Majestad Negra” (Black Majesty)
Piñones is located in the Torrecilla Baja sector of Loíza
Road 187, Km 4.2, Loiza, Puerto Rico