St. John’s Antigua- “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” says Malika Moffett – founder of the action group Women of Esteem (WoE) – as she called on residents to break their silence by joining her organisation in a march against all forms of violence.
Not only does she want residents to show their support on September 29, she also wants people to join in the subsequent candle light vigil in tribute to murdered mom Melissa Rose and all other victims of violence and abuse.
“I want to bring awareness early, now, to let people know it is time for us to stop acting like we don’t care. Women of Esteem (WoE) is collaborating with Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross and Gender Affairs. We have their full support and we want yours at our Shine Your Light-Take Back The Night Walk-A-Thon,” Moffett pleaded.
WoE, a lobby group just under a year old, has also got the blessing of Rose’s family who shares the view that the society has to work together to tackle the issue.
“It is heart-wrenching every time it happens and it seems many people are at a place where they are no longer compassionate. If it hasn’t happened to us or a friend or family we don’t care. It has to stop and once we are able to gather those groups, we will get it done,” WoE founder said.
She stressed that the aim of the march is to condemn all forms of violence and show that not only the victims’ parents and siblings are hurting, but the entire society is also affected.
“We are not marching to cause a disturbance, we are marching to make a statement as a society. We will move from the House of Culture from 4:30 pm onto Queen Elizabeth Highway, left to Ramco Building … The aim of taking that route is to pick up persons at all points,” she explained.
The lobbyist said the time is nigh to speak out, give testimonies and show people there are alternatives of expressing themselves other than resorting to violent acts.
Moffett said she and her team at WoE plan to make the march and vigil an annual thing, and anticipate support from the public.
Ten days ago, the 19-year-old Melissa Rose was gunned down while sitting in a pickup outside her John Hughes home.
An autopsy conducted Thursday show she died as a result of a gunshot injury to her left breast.
There has been no arrest over her killing. She leaves behind a 10-month-old daughter.