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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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Patty Anton

On November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, people around the world gather to show solidarity with women and girls who continue to be victims of brutality, whether physical, emotional, legal, political, educational. In almost every sphere somewhere in the world females are languishing under unjust systems which perpetuate their lack of opportunity and agency. It's why we need to show up on this day and every day in support of just systems for all people.
In 1999, the United Nations chose November 25th in honor of the Mirabal sisters, las Mariposas, who lost their lives that day in 1960 to the bloody dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. It is all the more sobering and painful to find ourselves this year mourning the violent death of Patty Anton, an American woman who spent the last six years as a teacher and curriculum director at 3 Mariposas Montessori, a preschool named in honor of the legendary Mariposas. In the very country of their birth and death, not two weeks before the international day in their honor, another Mariposa lost her life. We will not forget you, Patty, or countless others who have struggled to ensure the education, equality and safety of all people.
In addition, we must protect Mother Earth itself. Our violations are now manifesting themselves in changes in climate and the extinction of myriad forms of life. We must come together if we are to survive as a human family.
It is still the time for Butterflies.
My friend and wise woman, Zanda Merrill uses the change model of gestation as the basic paradigm that brought us all to life. In her book OFFERINGS, one of her colleagues Polly Shyka offers this observation and blessing: the generative model of life "holds the wisdom of being rather than acquiring. It is all about evolution as relational beings. May it companion us all on this beautiful but ravaged Earth as we become the good people we are."
The good people we are. We need to remind each other of these deeper springs already in our nature. I am posting photos of past commemorations around the world on November 25th to remind us that we are many and that together we can engender the kind of world we all can thrive in.
Share your own November 25th gatherings on my Facebook page:, or twitter feed: @writerjalvarez
Julia Alvarez
November 25, 2019
Copyright © Julia Alvarez 2019-2020.
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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