No single central candlelight vigil

Dear Editor,

The organizing Committee of Voices Against Violence National Candlelight Vigil acknowledges the support of Dr Carl Niamatali: “The GCPS will be pleased to attend the candlelight vigil because we believe that it is better to light a candle than lament the darkness. We as a nation can and must do better – together we can all make a difference. It is Time for Action!”

Indeed we are happy that Dr Niamatali has publicly endorsed Voices Against Violence, but we would like to clarify that there is no single central vigil being organized. Actually ‘Voices Against Violence’ is an attempt to get communities across Guyana involved in anti-violence activism, while fostering the concept of communal action for community well-being.  Set for World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2016, under the theme, ‘Connect… Communicate…Care’, Voices Against Violence is an initiative that is inexpensive and easy to organize ‒ each participant simply needs a candle or can even use a cell phone ‒ and that brings communities together. 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 pre-selected 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 walkabout anti-violence slogans can be chanted.

For the purposes of this vigil all of the following are considered acts of violence either against self or others: 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. Besides, 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. Thus, violence should be addressed holistically and when communities come together they can begin to become more caring and build more togetherness while getting their feet wet in the practice of mindfulness. In effect, anti-violence must become everybody’s business and immediately so. The candlelight vigil, held in communities throughout the nation, is a step in this direction.

Thus we urge the Guyana Cancer Prevention Society to join the fifteen organizations and counting that are partnering to spearhead vigils in various communities so that Dr Niamatali and other members can take the lead in organizing vigils in their own communities and feed us the info so we can map and help with publicity. To contact us please call Bibi at 621-6111 or 223-2637, Pandit Deodat at 627-4432 or Chandanie at 697-9968. Send email to bibiahamad1@hotmail.com, keshni.rooplall@yahoo.com, deodatpersaud25@yahoo.com or caribvoice@aol.com.

Yours faithfully,

Annan Boodram

Abel Seetaram

Dolly Lall Singh

Debbie Singh

Voices Against Violence Candle

Light Vigil Organizing

Committee

Save Abee Foundation

Humanitarian Mission of

NJASM

GIVE Foundation

Orchid Foundation

Guyana Women’s Roundtable

CPIC Monique’s Helping Hands

The Caribbean Voice

Art of Living (Guyana)

Golden Om Dharmic Youth

Nirvana Humanitarian

Foundation

Miss Universe Guyana

Imagine Nation Foundation

SASOD

Guyana Responsible Parenthood

Association

Anna Catherina Islamic Complex

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