Support for Dr Niamatali’s candlelight vigil

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Dear Editor,

THE Organising Committee of Voices Against Violence National Candlelight Vigil acknowledges the support of Dr Carl Niamatali, who wrote: “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 organised. 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 on 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 cellphone; and the vigil brings communities together.

Thus vigils can be organised 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 at 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: suicide, trafficking, 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 — which are more and more looming as issues of critical urgency — can and do shape personalities that easily gravitate towards crime and attendant 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 15-and-counting organizations that are partnering to spearhead vigils in various communities, so that Dr Niamatali and other members can take the lead in organising 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.

Sincerely,
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
Abel Seetaram
Dolly Lall Singh
Debbie Singh