The Annual Brides March against Domestic Violence was held today in New York City. Otherwise known as Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk, this is a unique event that protests various forms of patriarchy and oppressions that continue to exist in the world today.
Gladys Ricart was murdered by a former abusive boyfriend on September 26, 1999, on the day she was to wed someone else. The annual event commemorating the anniversary started in 2001. According to New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence, the idea for the March was originated by Josie Ashton, a young Dominican woman from Florida, who was moved by the murder and outraged at the media and community’s insensitive response.
Josie resigned from her job and sacrificed more than three months of her life away from her family to walk, in a wedding gown, through several states down the East Coast ending in her home state of Florida, all in an attempt to draw attention to the horrors of domestic violence. Several organizations in New York City, including the Dominican Women’s Development Center, the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, the Dominican Women’s Caucus and the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence, helped Josie organize the first March, which served as a send off for her 1,600-mile journey. They organized supporters in the New York metropolitan area, including the family and friend of Gladys, to join Josie on the first leg of her walk from Gladys home in New Jersey, to the Church in Queens were Gladys was to marry that September 26, 1999.
To date, thousands of women, men, and youth, among them members of the Ricart family and other families affected by domestic violence, along with elected officials, civic leaders, clergy, students, and scores of domestic violence advocates and survivors, gather every September 26, rain or shine, to memorialize Gladys and the many other victims who have also lost their lives to domestic violence, and raise awareness of the horrors of domestic violence.