One Book, One Chicago Fall 2004
As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, I invite you to participate in the seventh One Book, One Chicago program presented by the Chicago Public Library. One Book, One Chicago encourages all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. This fall, we have selected In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. One Book, One Chicago will culminate during Chicago Book Festival in October with free public appearances by Ms. Alvarez and book discussions throughout the city.
In the Time of the Butterflies is the first One Book, One Chicago selection by a Latina author. Set in the Dominican Republic, the novel is based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters, who are murdered for their participation in the underground movement to overthrow the Trujillo regime. It is a poignant tale of courage and hope in which the Mirabal sisters fight injustice and the traditional roles of women in their society.
You can find a copy of In the Time of the Butterflies at your neighborhood Chicago Public Library or local bookstore. Please join one of the many book discussions planned for libraries, bookstores and museums in October. Whether you read and discuss this book with friends or attend one of the special events, I am sure you will find the experience enriching and thought-provoking.
Thank you for participating in One Book, One Chicago.
Richard M. Daley, Mayor
From the Author
It is an honor to have In the Time of the Butterflies chosen for One Book, One Chicago. The novel is one I wrote with a sense of obligación (obligation) and agradecimiento (gratitude). It tells the story of three young women, the Mirabal sisters, freedom fighters, who founded the underground against the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The sisters were known by their code name, las Mariposas (the Butterflies). They were brutally murdered in 1960, only months after my own family escaped to the United States, so their sacrifice has special meaning for me and my family.
Those of us who survive such oppressive regimes have a responsibility to those who stayed behind and in many cases gave up their lives to help establish a free nation. In our Latin American countries, there is the tradition of el testimonio, bearing witness and telling the stories in which we remember what we must not forget: the high cost of freedom, the grassroots power of the people to bring about important change. As more and more we experience a world besieged by terror, conflict, unilateral and, thereby, dictatorial action, we need to be reminded of the Mirabal sisters. We need to make these times a time for Butterflies, the spirit and breath of service and freedom. In fact, the United Nations has declared the day of the murder of the Mirabal sisters, November 25, as International Day Against Violence Against Women.
Finally, Chicago is the home of one of my sisters, as well as the hometown of two fellow writers I greatly admire, Ana Castillo and Sandra Cisneros. And, not to forget, one of my favorite poets, the late Gwendolyn Brooks!