The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix is offering a safe space for surviving loved ones of homicide victims to feel supported, with a special event Sunday to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
“Healing and Speaking Our Pain: Remembering Our Loved Ones,” with activities focused on mindfulness, self-care, creative expression and the observance of the National Day of Remembrance, will be held at the coalition’s new community space at 7 East St., in Christiansted. The event will start at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Participants are asked to please wear their T-shirts, hats or other garments created in memory of their loved one, or the colors of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, which are red and black.
Health and safety measures against the spread of COVID-19 will be observed: mask-wearing is required, and sanitizing stations will be available.
“You cannot put a time limit on the effects of losing a loved one to homicide, or on healing,” noted Clema S. Lewis, WCSC’s executive director, in a press release announcing the event. “We want the families directly affected by loss, and everyone in our communities, to know that support is available from the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix.”
The program for the event will include a mindfulness activity, facilitated by Charlene Springer, and an open mic “Speak Out” for surviving loved ones to express their feelings. The Wall of Remembrance, a visual presentation of the names of murder victims on St. Croix since 1974, will be viewed during the traditional “Moment of Silence,” and the St. Croix Remembrance Quilt, created and presented to WCSC last year by Aida Almestica-Franco and family, will be on display.
To date, there have been 20 homicides on St. Croix this year, and 27 total in the territory. Ending violence is an important aspect of the National Day of Remembrance and a focus of WCSC’s response to this significant issue.
“Support for the surviving loved ones of homicide victims, healing and transformative justice must be prioritized on local and global levels, in ways that we need and that resonate with us. Ending violence is vitally important to our efforts at cultivating healthy relationships and communities,” said Debra Benjamin, WCSC’s communications coordinator.
Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims’ designation by the U.S. Congress, to recognize the impact of homicides on surviving loved ones and communities.
Visit the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims’ USVI Facebook page, @ndrmv.vi, to join the conversation, and to view the Wall of Remembrance, a visual presentation of names of murder victims on St. Croix since 1974, which is updated annually, or to post in honor of a loved one.
Call the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix at 340-773-9272 or visit their website, wcstx.org, for information on free advocacy, programs and services for people impacted by violence.