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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, April 22, 2024
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Take Back the Night March Against Violence Coming Thursday



Marchers at the 2007 Take Back the Night March on St. Croix Violent crime may be on the rise in the Virgin Islands, but Thursday evening you can come out and take back the night in Christiansted, joining your neighbors in a march against murder and domestic violence.

For a quarter of a century now the St. Croix Women’s Coalition has held this annual candlelight vigil and march, remembering and showing solidarity with the victims of domestic violence. This year, with senseless killing striking into the heart of more families than ever before, they are commemorating and standing with the victims and family members of all murder victims, along with the victims of domestic violence.

"We can march through the streets in the evening and not worry someone is going to attack us," said Clema Lewis, a director of the Women’s Coalition. "It is really important to show we are not afraid and will take back the night."

Brenda Osario will be remembered. While all victims are in the thoughts of marchers, every year the Women’s Coalition singles out one person from the Virgin Islands in particular. On Aug. 6, 2006, Osario was murdered, shot repeatedly by her boyfriend, who left her body by the side of Mahogany road, drove a couple of miles, then killed himself. Only 27, she lived in Whim, just outside of Frederiksted.

"We want to let the family know that person did not die in vain," Lewis said.

Wear something purple to show your support for the victims of domestic violence and bring a friend, Lewis said. You can bring your own candle or use one of theirs.

"Over the last 20 years, we’ve lost over 40 people in the Virgin Islands to domestic violence — women, men and children," she said. "It is serious and we need people to come out and show support."

The march will begin at 5:30 p.m. at St. John’s Anglican Church, heading down King Street to the Scale House. People will share their personal stories, along with poetry and song.

As every year, the Women’s Coalition will have its "clothesline" on display, symbolically airing the dirty laundry, where survivors and victims of domestic violence and abuse have written, drawn, painted, embroidered or put whatever they like onto a T-shirt, sending whatever message and expressing whatever feeling they wish. Its purpose is to bear witness to the survivors and victims of violence, to help with the healing process for those who have lost a loved one or who have survived violence, and to educate and raise awareness of the issue. In September, survivors of homicide joined with survivors of domestic violence in expressing their feelings on canvases of pullover T-shirts.

"You can still see and feel the pain as you read those shirts," Lewis said. "It’s a part of healing for the families."

After the march is over, you can keep supporting the victims of domestic violence. Saturday the Women’s Coalition is holding a food and fundraising drive at Plaza Extra East and Kmart West from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will have a wish list of canned food items for their shelter at Plaza Extra, and a wish list of day-to-day household goods, from dish soap to diapers, out at Kmart, so you can do your shopping, pick up an item or two for them, and drop them off on your way out.

To find out more about the march and about the St. Croix Women’s Coalition, call 773-9272.

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