Abuelita y Su Gorrita de “Pins”

By Christian Alequin

I have pondered over writing a blog for many years. My writing skills have never been great and the thought of writing a blog simply scared me. The idea for this blog came up as I was sitting in my office looking at my rendition of Abuelita’s famous “pin” hat.  For many years Ramonita Bartolomei Alicea, also known as, Abuelita, would carry around a Panama-style straw hat.  Completely covering this hat were pins ranging from places such as the Vatican City or Mexico and you couldn’t forget the pin that started it all - the Puerto Rican flag pin.  

You see, Abuelita was a very well loved person with a spirit of a young teenager exploring the world. She was a woman who only finished the 3rd grade and raised 8 children while living in a country that never felt like home with her limited English skills. She would always brighten up the room and ignite the fire in anyone that spent time with her. During our (my brother and I) time as kids, Abuelita would volunteer her time as a teacher’s aide at James Monroe Elementary School.  She always had on three items: her purple Monroe Pride jacket, her Monroe lanyard (which had pins too, by the way) and her awesome precious hat.  I remember the day she embarked on a mission to Springfield to fight for Bilingual Education rights. Guess what? She took the hat with her and added a pin! The small Puerto Rican woman could be heard yelling and picketing for the rights of the students with whom she had adopted as her “nietos.” The hat became a representation of the fearless, strong woman Abuelita was.  

Wherever there was a protest or meeting, Abuelita was there with her hat and “¿Quien Dijo Miedo?” shirt.  This is why people would go out of their way to deliver a pin for her precious hat.  The hat was a representation of her famous quote, “¿Quien Dijo Miedo?”  It represented that even though she had limited education and lived in hard times, she was still fearless while exploring new places and asking for a pin!  Now I've decided to embark on a journey to add pins to my own version of Abuelita’s hat.  It is a reminder of the hard work and passion she had and encourages me to keep her quote alive. “¿Quien Dijo Miedo?”  

This was actually my main inspiration when starting the concept of La Verdad.  I hope this inspires you to create a legacy just like Abuelita has inspired me. If you have a pin and see me around - add it to my collection!

“¿Quien Dijo Miedo?