Zenaida Mendez remarks to the Better World Awards, 2016

Zenaida Mendez remarks to the Better World Awards on December 11th, 2016

Good afternoon, everyone.

It is a real pleasure to be here with you this afternoon. I am Zenaida Mendez, the founder of National Dominican Women Caucus, former President of National Organization of Women New York State, and currently the director of Fire House El Barrio Community Media Center in Manhattan.

I like to open this event by asking everyone to say hello to the person next to them. This is a safe space. I notice that we see each other once a year when we come to an event, but we still pass each other and don’t say hello. This is a very small space. Today more than ever, we have to know who our friends are, who are comrades are, today more than ever. After hearing our opening statement, you can see that.

Who would have thought that in 2016, we would be where we are today? It’s like going backward. But we are here to make sure that we remind the young people, like this young lady here, that we have your back, just like you have ours. That’s why we’re here: to make sure that we continue the fight. We continue the struggle.

As a Black Latina, I have a double whammy. I’m here because in 1965, 40,000 troops US Marine invaded Dominican Republic, and this is what we have to avoid.

We have four years in front of us. We have to be safe. We have to take care of each other. We have to have each other’s back. But we have to continue the resistance. We have to resist.

We are not going back.