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Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Event!

By Kimberly Moore
Director, Care Café

On Sunday, February 27, 2022, Care Café joined our community partners to lift the voices of domestic violence survivors and to continue to bring awareness to our community about the availability of support and resources to those who seek it.

Located at the Juan Pablo Duarte Community Center, in the heart of Washington Heights at the George Washington Bridge Terminal, family members of the developing organization #longliveourbutterfly joined together to celebrate the life of their late relative, Ramona Elizabeth. Through storytelling about her transition from victim to survivor, using a visual of the metamorphosis of an actual butterfly to illustrate this, Ramona Elizabeth’s life has been an activating event for her family to proactively create opportunities to discuss the prevalence and impact of domestic violence.


Long Live Our Butterfly Invite


As the family grieves the loss of their beloved, they push through their pain, collectively, and find strength by canvassing their community and knocking on doors to gather names for a petition to bring more domestic violence resources to the Washington Heights community. They engage in learning circles to connect services to people and serve as liaisons for those who reach out to them anonymously requesting help with leaving abusive environments.

As the large group sat intimately in a circle, guest speaker Miguelina Henriquez Pilarte, author of a new book, Mariposa de Acero [Butterfly of Steel] offered her testimony of how she transitioned through a process of confusion, strain, strife and pain to self-awareness, strength and self-love, which drove her to a path of independence as she escaped violence. She provided a reading from her book for reflection.

Our other guest speaker, Marisol Rivas, of the Marisol Rivas Foundation, offered a message of hope and motivation, encouraging the audience to remind themselves of their value and collective strength.

Both speakers spoke candidly about the complexities of culture and its influences in concert with other generational values which can significantly impact a person’s life course, perpetuating cycles of violence and dependency.

Truly remarkable, the guests in the audience reached out for the microphone to be passed to them to share their insights and personal experiences. Others asked important questions about navigating social systems and the roles of immigration and literacy as a barrier to many, a true social justice issue.

This event, as noted by Kilsy Hidalgo, president of #longliveourbutterfly, was “one of the best that we have ever had!” Her sister, and daughter of the late Ramona Elizabeth, stated, “I learned things today that I did not know, and people shared things for the very first time. This was so important.” Anna, the sister of the late Ramona Elizabeth, mentioned, “This event has made me want to do so much more. We have so many opportunities to help people. We just have to let them know that we are here!”

In our debriefing, the family highlighted that the presence of the Care Café social worker team supported the creation and maintenance of a brave, safe space for participants to share, and the value of our expertise is needed at every event.

Finally, it is important to note that we also celebrated Dominican Independence Day with festive music and delicious international eats lovingly provided by the family. Selections included Habicuelas con Dulce [sweet beans], chicharron [fried chicken], chuletas [pork chops] and tostones [fried plantain].

Once again, Care Café is moved by our work and humbled to share in our community empowerment efforts. As always, special thanks to Care Café interns, Olivia B., Tina T., and Allysha B., for their support and contributions to this event.

To learn more about #longliveourbutterfly, check them out on Instagram or email them at

For Marisol Rivas, reach out to her at the Marisol Rivas Foundation email:

To contact Miguelina Henriquez Pilarte, author of Mariposa de Acero, please email her at:

Please feel free to reach out to the Care Café team for more information about our programming and to join us at an upcoming event: or 646 592 6827. We would love to hear from you.

To All, Be Well!


Long Live Our Butterfly and Care Café are a family!