Women March in NYC Against Domestic Violence

Women at the Brides' March on September 26. (Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

Women at the Brides’ March on September 26. (Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

For years, Anita Núñez woke every morning thinking about the horrors of abuse and humiliation. “One more day to save my life after a beating and to smile in front of the neighbors who heard it the night before and did not call the police,” said Núñez in front of other women who joined her in the 14th Brides’ March last week.

The event is held every year in memory of Gladys Ricart, a young Dominican woman who was shot five times by her ex-partner just hours before she was to marry another man on Sept. 26, 1999.

The initiative was created by Josie Ashton, who in 2000 put on a wedding gown and set out to complete a walk from Gladys’ house in New Jersey all the way to Miami. Her goal was to raise awareness about domestic abuse. Soon, her campaign spread to several cities throughout the country.

City Council chair joined the Brides' March. (Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

City Council chair joined the Brides’ March. (Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

“It’s been 15 years since Gladys was murdered, and 14 since we began this march. It’s as if she never left us,” said Ashton.

“My sister’s death was the first domestic abuse case in my family, and I pray to God that this horrendous experience never repeats itself,” said Yolanda Ricart. “With all the pain in my heart, but strong at the same time, I am participating in the Brides’ March in memory of the women who have died at the hands of the men that should have loved and protected them.”

The event is organized every year by New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence (bridesmarch.com). This year, it was led by Gladys’ family, and public servants such as Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito; New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; state Sen. Adriano Espaillat and Council member Ydanis Rodríguez.

“The wedding gown symbolizes the hope of a life free of abuse and fear,” said Mark-Viverito, who pointed out that the City Council has allocated $6 million to fight domestic violence this year.

(Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

(Photo by Gerardo Romo via El Diario)

Around 300 women in white dresses started to walk from the Fort Washington Presbyterian Church in Upper Manhattan, where Gladys was headed to get married the day she was killed. They stopped in front of the Bronx County Supreme Court, where Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. welcomed them.

“Violence is not a cultural problem but a crime which must be denounced and punished,” said Díaz, who encouraged victims to reach out to the free programs designed for these purposes offered by the city and the state.

The walk returned to Manhattan and ended at the entrance of the Children’s Aid Society in El Barrio.

Throughout the seven miles covered by the march, the high spirits of participating activists and survivors were shared by numerous business owners and passersby who stepped out to cheer the “brides” on and join their cry for justice.

“Each year, more ‘brides’ come to share our mourning and raise their fist next to us. We will never get tired of leading this battle,” said Lethy Liliano, Gladys’niece.

One Comment

  1. Please join us, Jericho Road Inc. on Saturday November 14th, 2015, 10a-3pm for our 8th Annual “Breaking the Bonds of Domestic Violence Walk” in Prospect Park, Park Circle Lawn, ProspectPark Southwest (across for TD Bank). Check us out!!!! Hope to see you there…

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