About Wanda and American Boricua

American Boricua is the first modern visual history of Puerto Rican life in all 50 states of the U.S. For the past 20 years Wanda has been traveling throughout the country, documenting the lives of Boricuas from all walks of life. What most people do not know about Puerto Ricans is that while Puerto Rico has been a part of the United States for more than 100 years, we are the only Latinx group born as U. S. citizens that share two lands. American Boricua is visual evidence of who we are and how we live in the United States today.

The word “Boricua” is a term of pride and endearment Puerto Ricans use for one another. It is derived from the Native Taino word for the island, “Boriken”, or “Brave Noble Lord”. It is the essence of “sabor”, that flavor that makes Boricua culture undeniably unique.

Wanda Benvenutti is a first-generation American Boricua from North Philly and based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her roots are in the small beach town of Salinas, Puerto Rico. She is a freelance photojournalist, writer, and editor who earned a B.A. in English and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2016 American Boricua was exhibited at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Wanda was named a Seattle City Artist in 2008 by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and her work can be seen in the book 100 New York Photographers by Cynthia Maris Dantzic. Photo © Derek Reed