New York Memory Project: Juana Sud
Juana Sud is an 83 years old woman from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. She moved to NYC when she was 17 years old. Interviewed by Antígona González.
Keywords / Subjects:
Childhood, Family, Love, Worklife, Youth
Notes from the Interviews
“Juana Sud is an 83 years old woman from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. She moved to NYC when she was 17 years old. She got married few months after she got to NYC. She worked in a handbag factory for more than 40 years and had a son.”
Quotes from the Interview:
“Aguadilla precioso para mí una viña… está la playa de Colón… la plaza bella, nací y me crié ahí… jugábamos en la playa, salía de la casa y cruzando estaba la playa de Colón” (“Aguadilla is wonderful, for me it is a dream, Colon beach is there, the beautiful square. I was born and raised there… we used to play on the beach, I got out from my home and the Colon beach was across the street”)
“Yo vine de PR y no vine a matarme mucho…yo venía a estudiar a terminar mi… pero me dijeron si quieres estudia de noche pero tienes que trabajar, al ratito me casé” (“I came from Puerto Rico and didn’t come to work til dead, I was coming to study but my sister told me ‘study at night if you want but you have to work’, a little after I got married”)
“Si me mandan a correr el rio me siento en una butaca y me voy ahí dándole la vuelta al río…me fascina el río, la playa, cualquier cosa.” (“If you send me to run along the river I sit on a bench and then I go around the river on it… I love the river, the beach, anything”.)
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, FABnyc responded by dedicating staff time to aiding local efforts to calling senior members of the LES community to make sure they had all they needed during the lockdown. As we talked with the elders, we realized that beyond basic human needs, connection and conversation can also be meaningful, particularly for those with limited online access. Out of this realization came the New York Memory Project, which was taken on as an oral history project by artist and FABnyc collaborator Antígona González.
The New York Memory Project aimed to achieve a deeper understanding and create dialogue between the artist and the interviewed elders in order to communicate and share their (and our) truths, in spite of what we all were facing: isolation, uncertainty, and fear throughout these difficult times.
After recording several interviews, González has developed her own narrative of the project, and highlights interviews with folks who have lived through times of social injustice, political upheaval, personal growth, and, now, a global pandemic exacerbating all of the above. The New York Memory Project, in centering the artist’s experience and work, seeks to uplift the voices of the most vulnerable and yet most powerful of our community: our elders.