Columbia College Chicago

November 21, 2012

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 11/25

Each year, November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  Adopted as Resolution 54/134 by the United Nations in 1999, the date is used to highlight international commitments towards the prevention of and end to gender-based violence. For 2012, United Nations Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet calls on all heads of state and government to make new commitments and take strong national action to protect women and girls. To watch her statement, it can be found here.

The date honors the memory of three sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal from the Dominican Republic, who were killed on November 25th, 1960 for their political activism against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. These young women, known as "Las Mariposas" (The Butterflies) sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy and became a symbol of the crisis of violence against women in Latin America. A fourth sister, Dede Mirabal who remains in the Dominican Republic, works to keep the memory of her sisters alive at the Museo Hermanas Mirabal near the city of Salcedo.

Visit the Library to find more information regarding the Mirabal sisters. One suggested resource is Code Name: Butterflies,  a 2008 documentary about the lives of  Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa and Dede Mirabal now available in the library audiovisual collection.  Shot in the Dominican Republic, the film features interviews by family, friends and fellow activists who worked with them during the Trujillo era. See the trailer below:

The Mirabal sisters are also the subjects of In the Time of the Butterflies, a fictionalized account of their lives written by noted author, Julia Alvarez.  In the Time of the Butterflies is the featured book for the The Big Read at Columbia College Chicago in spring 2013.  More information will be available in early February 2013.

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