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LA ÑAPA

In Dominican Spanish la ñapa refers to "the little extra" added on at the end. Just when you thought you'd gotten all that you would get, along comes your ñapa, like a baker's dozen, with one more kiss, one more pastelito, one more mango at the mercado.

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International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 25, 2017

Me, too, Mariposas!
Last thing any of us need is someone spreading more gloom! And so I confess I've been feeling glum: that's why it's November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women–a day of remembrance in honor of the Mirabal Sisters–and I still haven't posted even a small tribute in their honor.
It's dusk, I'm in a car, headed home to Vermont (yay!) from Thanksgiving with family in Brooklyn and New Jersey. At one point, I looked around the table, of mostly females, including my two young granddaughters, ages 15 and 13, and all I could think was: how can it be that the world is still not safe for them, and we women are the majority?
A year ago, Trump was elected president in spite of his outspoken disrespect and harassment of women and plenty of egregious evidence to support his disgusting behavior. These last few months we have seen so many women and girls–many in positions of leadership, along with many unknown others–coming forward to give their testimonials of suffering years of harassment, rape, disrespect in their places of work. What was a trickle has become a flood, a national conversation, ongoing and growing. Men of power–excluding our president!–are finally being held to account for their mistreatment of women.
Finding each other has broken the painful isolation of "invisible" victimhood these women endured, the fears of having to tolerate predation in order to work, and often the accompanying self-loathing at colluding with the situation by remaining silent. And that's where we find hope at these times of reckoning when we come together and create communities of caring to effect change. It might take years, as it did with the Mirabal sisters before their sacrifice became known, their example an inspiration to others, but over time it has happened and it will continue to happen.
So, here's a Me, too, not only or solely to speaking up about being victims of sexual harassment and violence, but Me, too, to working together for the elimination of violence against women! Me, too, to supporting each other's struggles for a decent immigration policy, health benefits for those who need them, equal pay for equal work, a sustainable way caring of the earth. Me, too! Me, too! Me, too!
The rallying cry of victimhood has to be transformed into a cry of solidarity, and hope, and thanksgiving for the growing numbers of people worldwide who are struggling to create Martin Luther King's "beloved community."
We're still an hour from Vermont, the dark descending. But thinking of all of us standing together, here's my shout-out on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
Yo, también, Mariposas!
Me, too, Mariposas!
Julia Alvarez
November 25, 2017
Copyright © Julia Alvarez 2016-2018.
All rights reserved. No further duplication, downloading or
distribution permitted without written agreement of the author
(please contact my agent, Stuart Bernstein).
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