In an attempt to get communities across Guyana involved in anti-violence, The Caribbean Voice is exploring initiatives that are inexpensive and that bring communities together. “Voices Against Violence”, the March 27, anti-violence candle light vigil fits the bill; each participant simply needs a candle or can even use a cell phone. Thus vigils can be organized by religious institutions, local businesses, sports and youth clubs, political party groups…just about any entity or set of individuals including schools. Where possible two or more groups can collaborate. Each vigil can select routes around the community, end at a central point or any other selected place where the participants can be accommodated and hold a rally whereby preselected individuals from within or without the community can speak on the theme of anti-violence and, if desired, inter faith prayers can be conducted. During the walk about anti-violence slogans can be chanted.
Given that The Caribbean Voice is involved in suicide prevention, one may be tempted to ask ‘why anti-violence’? Well its because we believe that suicide and related issues are acts of violence against self or others and some of these may also spur acts of violence against others. In fact, we consider all of the following to be acts of violence: trafficking, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic and child abuse, rape, incest, teenage pregnancy, road carnage, dysfunctional relationships, neglect of the elderly, abuse of the mentally and physically challenged.
We also believe that relationship violence and its dysfunctional socialization spawn, which are more and more looming as issues of critical urgency, can and do shape personalities that easily gravitate towards crime and attending violence. On the other hand we believe that violence should be addressed holistically and that when communities come together they can begin to become more caring and build more togetherness. Thus we are convinced that anti-violence can and should be addressed through the involvement of communities throughout the entire nation in myriad ways.
In effect, anti-violence must become everybody’s business and immediately so! The candle light vigil, held in communities throughout the nation, is a step in this direction. Currently The Caribbean Voice, Hindus United for Guyana, Inspire Inc, Monique’s Caring Hands, The Guyana Teachers Association and Golden Dharmic Youth are the organizations coordinating this vigil. But as the days go by we hope to have other NGOs involved, as well as government agencies and ministries. Right now though our appeal is to local and community leaders, businessmen and other influentials as well as community organizations, including religious institutions and sports club, and government agencies to please help to bring off this activity by ensuring that a vigil is organized in every community, collaboratively where possible.
While the above information is already being spread in Guyana through various media, we believe that Guyanese in the Diaspora can play a significant role in helping to make this vigil successful. For one, hundreds of Guyanese make calls to friends and family in Guyana on a daily basis. We appeal to you to discuss the vigil with all those whom you call, and persuade them to get together with others in their communities and organize vigils. Secondly, between now and March 27th many Guyanese will be visiting Guyana. We urge you on these visits to also work with the communities in which you spend time to persuade them to organize vigils. Thirdly if you actually are in Guyana around March 27th, please spearhead the organization of vigils in the communities in which you would be staying. And finally, please use whatever other means is at your disposal, – social media, emails, letters to the media – to encourage those you know and are in contact with in Guyana to work with others to organize vigils in their communities. At the end of the day a less violent Guyana means a safer and more enjoyable visit.
For more information about the March 27 vigil please contact us via: email at firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; call or text 718-542-4454 or 317-414-9076 (USA) or 621-6111 or 223-2637 (Guyana), or send us IM via our facebook page, The Suicide Epidemic. Meanwhile you can continue to dialogue with us or keep abreast of our campaign by checking out our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/suicideepidemic/), our twitter account (https://twitter.com/caribvoice), our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/ab10460/feed?view_as=public), our pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/caribbean3425/), our tumblr account (http://caribvoice.tumblr.com/) or our blog at https://caribvoice.wordpress.com.
At the end of the day, Guyana is small enough, both in terms of demographics and inhabited landscape, for it not to be an eminently doable task to collaboratively work to save lives and perhaps transform the society in the process, especially given that most of what needs to be harnessed is already in place. In fact, our history tells us that politics, race, religion are never obstacles in the face of people’s willpower and resolve. Besides, those of us in the Diaspora who are old enough, would recall growing up at a time when the village actually raised the child and everyone was each other’s keeper. Surely Guyanese can gradually imbibe those traits again? And surely those of us in the Diaspora can help in this process back home as well as ensure that we also imbibe the same traits in our many communities throughout the Diaspora.