On Saturday June 16, La Galería Magazine launched its first print edition, titled “La Galería Magazine: The Dominican Dream.” La Galería is an online publication for and by Dominicans co-founded by three Dominican women, with the purpose of celebrating the Dominican diaspora and inspiring action. After four years of being online, the team decided to publish a print edition of some of its best articles, and some new ones. The launch was celebrated with an event at Mainchance, a nonprofit organization located in Midtown Manhattan.
“Working on this magazine took so much work, and the result has been beautiful”, said La Galería Magazine’s Editor in Chief Amanda Alcantara, during the event. Alcantara is also digital media editor of Futuro Media Group, the organization that publishes Latino Rebels. “This was possible because of you. The Dominican community is beautiful, as a team we hope that this magazine is a reflection of you.”
The magazine is a collection of writing, photos and essay from Dominican writers in the U.S., Dominican Republic and other places.
My first encounter with La Galería was at an open mic they held at Alianza Dominicana during the winter, and I was impressed by the contributors and participants reading and reciting their poems and their stories. As an educator, art lover and photographer I found it inspiring, and fascinating to meet young people, especially young women embracing their love for writing and telling their story. Women who have no fear to show others who they really are and where they come from, women who defend and reclaim their identity as independent and Afro-Latinas.
The work in the magazine reflects that. After two of the La Galería Magazine’s team members spoke, Juliany Tavares, one of the contributors of the magazine, kicked off the reading portion of the event with her poem “My Gender is Not Your Colonial Project.”
Several other contributors performed, including Earth Izayaa Allat who read a portion of her piece about Vegan-Dominican cuisine, and Mariela Regalado who read her poem “Yo Soy Latina.”
While taking photos at La Galería’s launch event, I was trying to capture all the beautiful moments that were happening. I was there feeling inspired and trying to freeze some moments with the pictures.
One of the things I heard that stood out was when Jennifer Gil-Velazquez, one of the team members, said: “One thing about La Galería is that you will find yourself there.”
To me, the print edition was an example of that. During the event, Alcantara highlighted that the magazine has photos taken by local photographers of Dominicans in the present, and also photos provided by the City University of New York Dominican Studies Institute Archives of Dominicans in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
I was emotionally moved by listening to the poems read from La Galería Magazine, as the writers opened up about their stories, each speaking with their own sazón dominicano. Many stories told by Latinas, especially Dominican women with their own voice.
“Who says that having a pajón or an Afro will define who am I?…The language I speak does not define mi nacionalidad” said Mariela Regalado, one of the contributors as she read her pieces.
The work was organic and showcased dedicated Dominicans that are passionate about their roots and culture.
José Castillo is a Dominican born photographer from New York City. He works as a teacher in New York City Public School George Washington High School, and has a passion for photography that stimulated his interest in discovering the world. His photography has been featured by various organizations including the Dominican Film Festival of NYC and Cannes Festival. Follow him on Instagram @soydelacapital2.