My Beloved World

by Sonia Sotomayor

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In My Beloved World, how does the Puerto Rico visit enhance Sotomayor's appreciation of her background?

Quick answer:

Sotomayor recounts her visit to Puerto Rico, where she re-discovers her roots. She also discovers that Puerto Ricans in the island and mainland share a commonality: they are politically engaged. However, New Yorkers feel that their votes don't count because of the commonwealth status. In contrast, Puerto Ricans in the island believe that their voices can make a difference. Sotomayor hopes that Puerto Ricans in both places will work together for mutual advantage.

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Sotomayor visited the island of her childhood in her adult years. The visit enriched her appreciation of how her fellow Puerto Ricans treasured the electoral process.

In the book, Sotomayor recounts her amazement at how politically involved Puerto Ricans were. During elections, she saw party symbols everywhere. There were straw hats signaling support for the Commonwealth. Meanwhile, palm trees represented support for statehood, and green flags (with white crosses) symbolized support for independence.

Sotomayor noticed that people pored over newspapers and discussed the positions of all of the candidates on a variety of issues. Puerto Ricans were politically engaged, unlike those in New York, who believed that their voices didn't count.

In New York, Puerto Ricans felt that they were second class citizens. It was a different story in Puerto Rico, where all self-respecting Puerto Ricans believed that they were fully-fledged citizens with a say in political affairs, and ultimately, their futures.

Sotomayor came home with the belief that Puerto Ricans (in both New York and the island) needed to work together for their mutual advantage.

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