March & Vigil on International Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

November 17, 2008

Crowd o’ people!  Spread the word widely!  Do show up at the march/vigil and then come back and tell me how it was for you.  I’ll reserve my comments for after the event. Check out Nicholas Laughlin’s post as well.

A message from Aloun Ndombet-Assamba:

A group of us have gotten together to do something about this frightening situation that we find ourselves in as a country. With the support of my Lions club, the Lions Club of New Kingston, Blossom Anglin Brown and I have joined a group of women and men to begin to take responsibility for our country.  We have a diverse group who have met, including the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, Hear the Children Cry, the former President of the JMA and other individuals and have arranged for a MARCH on Wednesday NOV 19th,2008 which is the International Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.

We will begin our MARCH from the POLICE OFFICER’S CLUB on Hope Road at 4.00pm.
We will go down Hope Road to Half Way Tree
Turn left on to Half Way Tree Road; march to Chelsea Ave
Turn left on Chelsea Ave; march to Trafalgar Road
Turn right on Trafalgar Road; march to Knutsford Boulevard
Turn right on to Knutsford Boulevard; march to Emancipation Park.

Once in Emancipation Park we will join the CHILD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY in their Candle Light Vigil which has been planned for this special Day.

Our march is not a public relations event nor is it intended to be a feel good event.It is also not a party political event. We will have no speeches. This is a serious attempt to bring attention to the situation we are in as a country and to have citizens take personal responsibility for doing something about it. We believe this is just a start and will symbolize the forging of a social partnership where people from all walks of life can come together and take a stand.

We are not calling on the Government or the Police to do anything. We are calling on individual private citizens to stop being crippled by fear and consider it our duty to do what he or she can to make Jamaica, once again a safe place to be.

Bring pictures of children and women who have been abducted and or killed to show on the march. We are not providing any tee shirts or other paraphenalia.  Just our bodies.  If you can’t join us at the start of the march join us along the way. Allow your staff to leave work early so they can join us. Get your friend and neighbours to join us and share this email with others so they can choose to join us.

We pray fervently for God’s Spirit to be with us and to guide our footsteps in this terrible time.



8 Responses to “March & Vigil on International Day for Prevention of Child Abuse”

  1. Stunner Says:

    Not to be apathetic, but what is this supposed to do?

  2. […] asking Jamaicans to come out to support. Jamaican blog Long Bench asks their readers to “spread the word widely“, posting the entire email text. Expat trinifem2 of Transition Sunshine also posted the […]

  3. longbench Says:

    Hey Stunner – How is your question apathetic?

    I don’t know that much about this one, except for what’s in the post.

    I’ll tell you what vigils are generally intended to do: it is a form of collective action, where it (like demonstrations, protests, riots, etc.) uses the physical bodies of the people present in order to register a sentiment publicly *and* silently around a serious issue; for individuals, a vigil is an opportunity to connect with others who share one’s grief and anger about, as well as commitment to an issue.

    Even if one person holds a vigil, and even if you don’t agree with their position, the visual experience of having someone sit or stand still in public as an expression of their point of view, never leaves you or ceases to raise questions in your own mind, even long after you have saw them. Vigils work to bring attention to a problem, by interrupting the normal routine – going along as if everything is ok – and making the participants – and even onlookers – stand still for a moment. In that standing still, one has to reflect, even if it is to deny the validity of the cause.

    I noted what a vigil, as an event, does. What people do with and at the vigil can vary enormously: from holding protest signs, performance, write, hum, etc. They are political events, and you can know that from how people receive the vigil. A lot of violence tends to sprout around vigils, especially those that are focused on big issues. And the violence comes from the onlookers, not from the participants. Silence can really piss people off, I tell you.

    For me, this vigil is an important opportunity for Jamaicans to mourn collectively about what has been happening, and to reject the paralysis and fear that is being generated by the violence but also by the mass media, in favour of collective action, where we have a chance to recognize that all of us are stronger and safer together than apart. I think Aloun feels similarly; I can’t speak to the other organizers. My strategy and language around the vigil would probably be quite different from hers, but despite that, and the big football match, I think its an important effort at creating a communal response.

  4. duttybwoy Says:

    vThanks for that explanation. I will admit to not really knowing. The emotional part is very important

  5. longbench Says:

    DB – Yes, its amazing how much mourning is discouraged in Jamaica. It never fails to piss me off that when somebody is bawling from grief, you always have a handful of people committed to shutting them up and demanding that they don’t cry. Some bullshit about the problem of “breaking down”. Even at funerals _ I mean, if that is not a setting to cry, I don’t know where is. Anyway, I’m dealing with a death of a close friend right now, and so this whole mourning thing is very close to the surface for me. Sorry for the tangent…

  6. duttybwoy Says:

    sorry to hear about your loss Longbench, I hope you are doing OK.

    I get the feeling sometimes by observation that Jamaicans celebrate death in a very strange way. The fascination with looking at dead bodies, evening taking pictures with cell phones reading or watching horrific tales of crime in the evening news. even in the songs these days there seem to be a celebration making reference to “fish and bread” at ny-night.

  7. YardEdge Says:

    Anyone knows what happened at this march?

  8. longbench Says:

    From Aloun –

    When the discussion started it was to do something that would bring focus and attention on what is a very serious problem facing us as a nation. A group of private citizens decided to do something and asked others to join us. The March was one in a series of events that we will plan.

    My Lions Club, the Lions Club of New Kingston has formed a committee to plan future activities and were active on the march. Our view was that if only those of us who planned it turned up then we would have had the march.

    As it was many persons turned up at the start and many joined us along the way. Many persons who were driving past honked their horns in solidarity. Did we achieve anything. Yes we did.

    There are many persons who came out who had never done anything like this before and who felt they were part of something important. All who came out put themselves on the line to be ridiculed by those who felt we were wasting our time.

    As we walked and sometimes chanted “Save our Children,” there were persons who cried, and for many who walked it was a very moving event and allowed us to publicly grieve for the atrocities meted out to our children and women.

    The Vigil at Emancipation Park was also a very moving and thought-provoking event. especially when we saw the children acting out the horrors they face on a daily basis.

    There is a lot of sensitization and advocacy that needs to be done and this was a start. We are planning other activities and you will be advised further so you can join in or plan your own events. The Kiwanis Clubs are also planning their own activities as is Hear the Children Cry.

    [You can reply directly to her at]

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