Best Way to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Students and teachers already on a roll from February’s Dominican Heritage month extravaganza events complete with dance, art and media coverage are now tapping into their creativity to today, March 8, celebrate International Women’s Day.
Girls participating in Catholic Charities Alianza La Plaza Beacon program – located in Washington Heights, home of the largest Dominican American population in New York – created an international women’s mural to honor female heroes, many haling from their own Dominican heritage, others from around the world who they admire.
But before we get to these heroes from the past, let’s first give a shout out to a Dominican heritage female hero from the present, Catholic Charities’ own Luz Tavarez. As Catholic Charities director of government and community relations, Luz stood among three select women honored during February’s Dominican Heritage Month by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at Hostos Community College.
“As we honor these dynamic, accomplished outstanding women we may not understand we are making history but we are,” Bronx Borough President Diaz said.
As for Alianza students’ past heroes, their list – and mural – includes:
- Florinda Soriano (also known as Mama Tingo): Defended her land and people in need; murdered trying to protect the land she felt was rightfully hers.
- Helen Keller : Lost her vision and hearing as a young child yet learned to communicate, graduated college and become a world-renowned advocate for social activism.
- Emma Goldman: Activist and advocate for political and social issues ranging from women’s rights to education and workers rights.
- The Mirabel Sisters (Patricia Mercedes Mriabal, Minerva Argentina Mirabal, and Maria Teresa Mirabal): Stood up against unjust government system despite imprisonment and seizure of their properties.
- Lola Mora: First woman sculptor in Argentina; created two amazing works including a fountain featuring the birth of Venus
- Fiordaliza Rodriguez: First Dominican-American Judge in Bronx Family Court
- Salome Urena: Renowned Dominican poet and writer.
- Ercilia Pepin: Teacher and strong advocate for education.
“The mural was designed to inspire our students, particularly our young women, to follow their dreams and aspirations,” says their Arts and Crafts Instructor Yesebel Burgos.