Set to upbeat music, Dominicans of all ages and backgrounds explain why they shouldn’t be judged by their hair type in a new ad. Then driving home the point is Marianela Pinales, who is identified as the director of Dirección de Equidad de Género y Desarrollo for the Ministerio de Educación (MINERD). “No boy, girl, or adult should be discriminated against for their physical appearance,” she said in the video. “We are committed to guaranteeing the equality and [protecting the] identity of all people.” It was an uplifting message – and a necessary one. For far too long, those with Afro-textured hair have had their locks reduced to “pelo malo.” The video showed people embracing their hair, and while it was supposed to bring positivity into the world, it has generated much controversy.
As Latino Rebels reported, Pinales was fired shortly after she appeared on Edith Febles’ La cosa como es program, where the video was shown. MINERD, however, argues that her firing had nothing to do with the video in question.
“We back the campaign, and in the next few days, we will strengthen it,” said Glenn Davis Felipe, the director of communications for the ministry.
MINERD added that it respects artículo 39, which guarantees equal rights for everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, nationality, religion, and more. Marina Hilario has replaced her in this role.
Reportedly, MINERD allege that Pinales lost her job because she hadn’t shown up to events for 30 days. However, Pinales has denied this. She said that there’s plenty of proof that she has attended events, such as the Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer.
“I have evidence,” she said, according to Listin Diario. “I was even at this event with la ministra de la Mujer and I posed for photographs alongside Janet Camilo, who is witness to my having worked with the Ministerio de Educación.”
Pinales also said that the ministry had not paid her for the entire month of March, and that the ad wasn’t something that came out of nowhere. MINERD, she said, knew this was part of a campaign that she’s been working on since last year.
For her part, Febles has tried to get to the bottom of the firing, but in conversations with Pinales, she has not learned any new information. “I’ve asked her but all she knows is that she received a call at 5:30 to inform her that on orders of higher ups she was discharged from the job.”
Mucha gente me pregunta en las redes y de forma personal si fue por esa posición que cancelaron a Marianela Pinales. No lo sé. Le he preguntado a ella y lo que sabe es que fue llamada a las 5.30 para comunicarle que por orden superior estaba desvinculada del cargo. #LaCosaComoEs
— edith febles (@edithfebles) March 25, 2019
But given the timing of Pinales’s firing, many are skeptical about MINERD’s response. Many are showing support for Pinales. Check out some tweets below.
Lo peor de todo el meneo con el comercial de “Ni pelo malo Ni pelo bueno” es la felicidad que tenían esos niños en sus rostros de poder participar en tan bonito proyecto. Espero que se haga justicia por la Dir. Marianela Pinales.
— Iris Bobea (@IrisBobea) March 26, 2019
Listín Diario, el periódico de los dominicanos. Noticias Santo Domingo.. esto es lo que se llama una barbaridad y un desperdicio de los recursos humanos del estado, como lo es Marianela Pinales https://t.co/s6asmY4wDj
— Mary Fernández (@mariaafernandez) March 27, 2019
La cancelación de la joven Marianela Pinales merece el repudio de todos/as , los/as militantes revolucionarios y personas decentes del país solo por publicar un Spot publicitario de aceptar los niños y niñas como son con sus afros. Eso es desconocer nuestra cultura .Reposición!!!
— nelson nina de leon (@luperoniano) March 27, 2019