Dominican Republic Reflections - Sheronda Jackson

Reflections on the Dominican Republic

by Sheronda Jackson

I chose to study abroad in hopes of comparing the educational system of the Dominican Republic versus the educational system of the United States. I also wanted to learn about the history and culture and perhaps enhance my Spanish speaking abilities. However, after completing the trip, I've learned a great deal that goes beyond just education. For example, the history of Trujillo and the Mirabal sisters. Trujillo was a dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic for 31 years, also known as the bloodiest eras in the Americas, the Trujillo era. This time period is known to be a long era of oppression and death. Trujillo and his regime were responsible for many deaths, between 20,000 and 30,000 Haitians, in what is called the infamous Parsley massacre. The Mirabal sisters, Las Hermanas Mirabal: Patria, Minerva, María Teresa and DeDé opposed the dictatorship of Trujillo and were a part of clandestine activities that were against his regime. Three of the four sisters were assassinated for their political movement, Movement of the Fourteenth of June, against Trujillo. This movement was named after the date of a massacre Patria witnessed to oppose the regime. Activities Minerva, Maria Teresa and Patria took part in were things such as distributing pamphlets about the many people whom Trujillo had killed, and they also obtained materials for guns and bombs to use when they openly rebelled. Within this movement, the sisters called themselves “Las Mariposas,” the butterflies. The assassination as well as the butterfly turned the Mirabal sisters into “symbols of both popular and feminist resistance.” The history of Trujillo and the Mirabal sisters is exactly that, history. However, the discrimination and hatred towards Haitians is still alive today as I've unfortunately witnessed during this trip. After visiting multiple schools, Haitian students were constantly referred to as foreigners or some sort of other. After learning the history of Trujillo and understanding that the despising of Haitians is still being taught within the Dominican culture; it makes me wonder if the ways of Trujillo are really forgotten, or just hidden.