First Spanish-Speaking NOW Chapter Forms in the Bronx, N.Y

Article excerpt

Many fabulous things came out of the 2005 Women of Color and Allies (WOCA) Summit, but perhaps one of the most wonderful was the revitalization of the Bronx Chapter in New York. The chapter had been founded by the late Géraldine Miller, in whose memory the WOCA conference was dedicated.

Longtime activists Rosalba Polanco and Candida Bido attended the WOCA Summit and brought along other activists from their community; they enthusiastically went home with a mission to revitalize NOW in their area, making the Bronx chapter our first Spanishspeaking chapter.

Polanco is a former staff member of the Dominican Women Development Center (DWC) in New York and founder of the Hermanas Mirabal Family Center. Bido is a former aide to New York council member Guillermo Linares and also worked at the National Dominican Women's Caucus.

The Bronx chapter held its kick-off meeting in July at Polanco's Hermanas Mirabal Family Center, with Executive Vice President Olga Vives and Director of Racial Diversity Programs Zenaida Mendez as special guests. The Center is a truly impressive establishment. It was created to seek solutions to problems such as inadequate salaries and lack of employment and child care services, and to satisfy the needs of low income Latinas in the community. The staff at the center aims to give women the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills to succeed in small businesses, to gain political status, to obtain and provide quality child care services, and to participate in the community.

The Mirabal Sisters [Hermanas Mirabal]Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa-were courageous women who lived in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship. Known as the "Butterflies," these sisters dared to fight for their country's political freedom, resulting in their assassination in 1960. Despite the brutal murders, their memories live on as a symbol of courage and hope. As the Bronx NOW members gathered at the Hermanas Mirabal Family Center, the Mirabal sisters looked on from framed news clippings hanging on the walls. …