Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Melting Pot Heroes: North Jersey Trio Working to Help Their Communities

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Melting Pot Heroes: North Jersey Trio Working to Help Their Communities

Article excerpt

Rosita Romero's awakening to women's rights issues came during college in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But unlike so many, the pull of the cause wasn't a passing phase that was gone with graduation. Romero made helping women her life's work.

"It was just something that felt really good, to be able to help others," the Teaneck resident said. "Looking at the injustices against women and inequalities among the genders, in my heart, it felt like a calling. To help other women live a fulfilling life where we could fulfill all of our potential as human beings. It just felt right."

In 1988, she focused that cause on her native cultural community and, along with eight others, she co-founded the Dominican Women's Development Center in Washington Heights, where Romero lived at the time.

"Before anything, I consider myself a black, Dominican woman," she said. "I wanted to make a contribution to advance the situation of that group of which I am first and foremost a part of."

Three years later, she became the organization's executive director, a position she still holds today. The DWDC offers many programs, including English classes, early childhood education, domestic violence support and advocacy, community organizing and healthy living programs. They strive to help empower Latina women and their families.

Romero was a part of the Washington Heights community for years before moving to Teaneck in 1994.

"I had a family and, like many people, was looking for an environment where my children could have more space, have their own back yard where they could play, get a good education. I am part of that growing Dominican middle class that can afford to move to the suburbs and enjoy the benefits of a more comfortable life."

She has never regretted the decision.

"Teaneck is a great town," she said. "I love it. It's a beautiful community. …

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