The story of the Hermanas Mirabal is one that has resonated with women across the globe. Las Mariposas that fought against the Trujillo dictatorship have become a powerful symbol of the fight to end violence against women. They are, without a doubt, a source of pride for young Dominicanas who are learning about their history.
And yet we must’n ignore that there are more mariposas that also deserve to be celebrated for actively doing important work in their communities, their respective fields, or their artistic realms. This past month, La Galería Magazine decided to join in the celebration of Women’s History Month by highlighting Dominicanas past and present on our Facebook page. We launched the series with Las Hermanas Mirabal, and then were pleasantly unsurprised and thrilled to see that there were more women making an impact than there were days in a month.
Some examples of important women in Dominican history who we highlighted include the agrarian rights luchadora Mamá Tingó, Dr. Evangelina Rodriguez, who was the first woman to become a doctor in the Dominican Republic, and Carmen Josefina Lora Iglesias, aka Piky Lora, who fought with the constitutionalists during the Revolución de Abril. Nonetheless, our focus was mostly on women who are currently making history in their community, such as Dr. Griselda Rodriguez, the Interim Director of the International Studies Program at The City College of New York and a birth doula. She earned a PhD and Master’s degree in Sociology from Syracuse University. “Dr. Rodriguez has cultivated her commitment to the youth, by conducting workshops and keynotes related to youth-empowerment and leadership development”(via The Image Initiative).
We also highlighted actor, writer, director and educator Josefina Baez. Baez is the founder and present director of Ay Ombe Theatre Troupe. One of her published works includes “Dominicanish,” which has been performed several times internationally over the last ten years. Mino Lora is another Dominicana with directing as one of her many skills. Lora was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has been living and working as an artist, educator, activist and arts administrator in NYC since 2000. For the last 5 years, she has served as the Co-Executive and Program Director for People’s Theatre Project—a non-profit organization that seeks to activate the community through theater. Lora has received the Creative Power of Women Award from State Senator Bill Perkins for her “Outstanding work as a woman in the Arts”, the Woman of Excellence award from the Bronx Resource Center and an award from the American Chamber of Commerce DR, that recognizes her accomplishments as a Dominican working in the diaspora.
The writer and co-producer of the series “Afro Latinos: La Historia Que Nunca Nos Contaron” Alicia Anabel Santos was featured as well. Santos is a self-identified Latina lesbian writer, performance artist, producer, playwright, and activist, “who after reading one too many stories about women she could not wholly relate to, decided to write her own tales that would honor women throughout Latin America and at the same time be representative of the American-born Latina” experience (Via LinkedIn).
Through the creation of this list, we did notice that a Google Search of “Mujeres Dominicanas” leads to results that prove just how oversexualized and objectified we are. However, in the creation of these Facebook posts, we also realized that Dominicanas are truly unstoppable human beings who will overcome all barriers—including sexism—to accomplish their goals as well as to celebrate their community. Therefore La Galería Magazine is committed to continue celebrating Dominicanas and taking ownership over our own narrative.