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Community Last Updated: Dec 10, 2018 - 4:04:10 PM

Zonta Activism Wraps up with International Human Rights Day
By Felicity Darville
Dec 10, 2018 - 3:43:13 PM

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Urban Renewal Band members happy to be a part of the event to promote non-violence

Sixteen days of activism to "Say No to Violence Against Women and Girls" wrapped up worldwide this Monday with the commemoration of International Human Rights Day, December 10. 

Here in The Bahamas, Zonta Bahamas brought a rigorous activism schedule to a close with the "Walk In My Shoes" event held at Christie Park on Saturday, with social media agitation continuing after the main event. Members of the public responded well and scores of new or gently used shoes were collected by Contains to donate to charity. Each pair of shoes were to represent a victim of domestic violence or any kind of violence, and people were encouraged to understand the matter from the view of the victim. By placing yourself in another's shoes mentally, you are better able to understand what victims go through and how to help them understand the victims' plight, Zonta believes.

Ann Marie Bain of the US of the US Embassy supports the Say No to Violence Campaign

National Advocacy Campaign Chairman Marisa Mason-Smith said the group joins Zonta International in advocacy efforts each year with the aim of seeing decreased incidents of violence in the community. Zontians beat the streets with flyers, flags, signs and orange ribbons which they ties on trees to remind residents to be sensitive to the issues of violence that ultimately affect them all. This year, Zontians went a step further by introducing a "Light the Town Orange" campaign. During Saturday's event, they distributed orange light bulbs and encouraged members of the public to place the bulbs outside their homes to show neighbours and passers by that their household does not stand for violence against women and girls. Members of the public can also purchase these bulbs at a low cost from Henry F. Storr Electric. 

Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs Dr. Jacinta Higgs participated in the live ZNS radio remote promoting the advocacy efforts. She encouraged NGOs to hold events and initiatives with a gender-based focus, as international funds would soon be available to support these efforts, such as the series of events Zonta Bahamas held over the 16 days of activism. There should be events that focus on males and those that focus on females, she said. 

National Advocacy Campaign Chairman Marisa Mason-Smith, holding the orange umbrella, proudly poses with kids and Zontians as the campaign wraps up

The live remote, hosted by CherryLee Pinder and Keshagen Adderley sought to bring as much information to the public as possible during a two-hour period. Other guests included Leila Green of the Bahamas Crisis Centre, who encouraged women and girls who are facing violence in their home, school or workplace not to hesitate to contact the centre for help. The hotline is still available 24 hours - 322-4999. Dr. Ivy Campbell also participated, sharing a poem in honour of victims, noting that they come from all walks of life and tiers in society. She also announced her book which is about to be released - "My Escape from Narcissist Hill" - which she hopes will help others in abusive relationships find the strength to leave. Bahamas Prison Fellowship leader Elder David Williams joined in with support for a campaign which he feels is critical in preventing people with poor relationship management skills from ending up in prison.

The Walk In My Shoes event was successful and there was food, drink and music throughout the day, and BTC was on-hand with incentives and giveaways. The Urban Renewal Band also entertained the crowd, including residents from the area who came out and showed support. 

Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and Leila Green, Legal Advisor, Bahamas Crisis Centre participate in a live ZNS remote with hosts Keshagen Adderley and CherryLee Pinder

Donating shoes for a worthy cause

Zonta Club of Nassau President Latoya Johnson pins an orange ribbon on Elder David Williams of Bahamas Prison Fellowship

a successful "Walk In My Shoes" event as the community donated shoes to charity

lots of shoes were donated to charity for Zonta's Walk In My Shoes event

an Urban Renewal Band member signs the board of activism against violence

Contains gave out orange light bulbs for residents to display outside their homes as a part of this years' Light the Town orange campaign

Felicia Campbell of Teen Life Skills Services and Nurse Jennifer Stubbs support the Orange your World campaign

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