By Emily Tenorio Molina, Staff Writer
October 28, 2022
On Friday, Sept. 23, Berkeley City College (BCC) hosted Puerto Rican filmmaker Juan C. Dávila to screen his film Simulacros de Liberación as part of their Latinx Heritage Month celebrations. After two years of virtual events, BCC welcomed community members in-person to an evening honoring Puerto Rican political resistance and culture.
In Simulacros de Liberación, translated to Drills of Liberation in English, Dávila profiles Puerto Rico’s numerous controversial governors, including former Governor Wanda Vasquez and her irresponsible leadership under which millions of national relief fund dollars were mishandled during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2019.
The documentary also called attention to the community organizations of Puerto Rican residents, many of whom are socialist activists that advocate for complete liberation from US influence in the island’s politics, that are calling for the removal of what they consider undemocratic leadership.
Dávila documents local group Se Acabaron Las Promesas, which participated in the protests that led to the resignation of former Governor Ricardo Roselló in the summer of 2019 after insensitive remarks made by his administration were leaked.
The film also highlighted another form of protest within the community, which was the transformation of the original red and blue flag to new black and white colors. This change represents an absence of light as a representation of US colonization and power.
Dávila filmed the documentary during significant moments in US history, including the presidency of Donald Trump, Hurricane Maria, and the COVID-19 pandemic– all which greatly contributed to the social unrest in the streets of Puerto Rico.
Local groups like Bay Area Boricuas and Bay Area Alliance for a Sustainable Puerto Rico (BAASPR) attended the event to support Dávila and Puerto Rican solidarity. Susana Praver-Pérez, a local poet who is part of BAASPR, was excited to see a lot of Boricuas in attendance since they are a smaller group in the Bay Area’s Latinx community.
Attendees also enjoyed live music from Madelina y Los Carpinteros, an Oakland-based Latin American group that played many classic Latinx songs during the reception.
Frankie Free Ramos, Director of Campaigns and Organizing at Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice and Boricuan activist, also attended the event and was elated to see a whole community come together to support the work of Davila, whose film received an honorable mention at The Workers Unite Film Festival in 2021.
Ramos came to support an event that brought people together to understand the historical demands by residents of Puerto Rico for independence and freedom from US influence, and the numerous protests that led to police violence and persecution of socialist activists.
“It’s about Puerto Rican colonization solidarity,” Ramos said, “La lucha continua (the fight continues).”
To learn more about the film, visit simulacrosdeliberacion.com