Story, photos and video by Sherry Mazzocchi
Rosita Romero is the Executive Director of the Dominican Women’s Development Center, located in Washington Heights. For more than 30 years, she has actively defended the rights of people in the community.
“I’m blessed to have this job,” she says. “It’s a labor of love.”
We are very proud to be Dominicans, Romero said. “Our nationality is a very important part of our identity.
But she also takes a wider view. “We all have the right to say that we are citizens of the planet Earth.”
She believes that countries have borders and immigration rules that must be respected. However, she condemns the Dominican government’s position that denies the citizenship of children born in the DR.
“If they were born in the country, it’s a universal, God-given right to be a citizen of that country,” she said.
Bellairis Jasquez is a student who wants to pursue a career in psychology and medicine. She moved to New York from the Dominican Republic five years ago.
Dominicans are island people who move with rhythm. They are resourceful; they fix and re-purpose things. They have an ingenious knack for transforming very little into the useful and practical. “If you don’t have something—well, if you have anything else that you can kind of convert it into that—they do it,” she said. “That is something that is part of being a Dominican. They just create things out of nothing.”
Jason Rosario is studying English and Journalism at St. John’s University. He’s also a writer and a UN youth representative. His definition of Dominicans is people with African, European and indigenous roots. The Dominican Republic was the first settlement established in the New World. “It’s been an experiment that’s been going on since 1492,” he said.