Washington Heights Intersection Named For Assassinated Mirabal Sisters

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A report by Paula Mejía for The Gothamist.

Dominican sisters Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria Mirabal—activists who were assassinated in 1960 during Rafael Trujillo’s regime—were honored in a street naming ceremony in Washington Heights on Sunday. The corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 168th Street is now named after the Mirabals, who were known as Las Mariposas (the butterflies).

Ydanis Rodriguez, a New York City Council Member representing Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill wrote in the co-naming ceremony’s invitation that the sisters “stand as inspirational and visionary activists for social and political justice and role models to generations of women since their untimely death.” Rodriguez was joined by members of the Dominican community, including the Mirabal Sisters Cultural & Community Center, as well as Altagracia Mirabal, who is the late sister’s cousin, for the ceremony that named part of Amsterdam Avenue Mirabal Sisters Way.

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In life, the Mirabal sisters resisted the oppressive injustices of Trujillo, who controlled communications and had critics killed. They were instrumental in forming the resistance organization Movement of the Fourteenth of June, aimed at overthrowing Trujillo, and distributed pamphlets that outlined, in detail, the numerous injustices inflicted on the Dominican people during his three decades in power. María Teresa and Minerva were imprisoned, then freed by Trujillo earlier in 1960 (because of international pressure, as Remezcla reports).

Trujillo’s henchmen murdered the three sisters in the Dominican Republic several months later, on November 25, 1960. As The New York Times notes, their deaths “paved the way for Trujillo’s own assassination six months later by some of his own associates.”

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