Red Thread ends 321-hour vigil for murdered schoolboy

Guyana Chronicle
May 2, 2003

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THE activist group Red Thread held an open-air press conference in front of Office of the President, Vlissengen Road on Wednesday to formally announce the conclusion of the 312-hour uninterrupted vigil for schoolboy Joshua Bell, who was kidnapped and murdered by bandits last month.

The vigil, which began on Thursday, April 17, 2003, concluded at 11:30 hours on Wednesday, April 30. According to Ms. Karen De Souza, a leading member of Red Thread, the vigil had been internationally supported by the organisation’s network in Toronto, as well as by the Global Women’s Strike a 70-nation network of women, which campaigns for all governments to invest in caring not killing.

Locally, participants in the vigil included parents of children attending School of the Nations, teachers, lawyers and other professionals, members of the judiciary, prominent and small businesswomen and men, Members of Parliament, Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE), Women Across Differences (WAD), G+(Guyanese Living with HIV/AIDS), and the University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS).

“The heart of the problem is that while some of the violence is racist in intent and some is not, all of it is being used to make us still more racially divided and therefore more vulnerable. Thus, the children of Guyana are not safe,” Ms De Souza pointed out.

She explained that in almost every instance where a child has been attacked, rumours spread that the child’s parents or other adult relatives were involved in some criminal activity.

“This inference of guilt against the loved ones of the victim hides other people’s guilt,” she said

In calling an end to the 24 hour-a-day vigil, Red Thread and the other members of the community are far from calling an end to their campaign against violence and racism in Guyana.

“We will watch over the days ahead to see if the Government and the Opposition take effective steps to end the violence. And we can make them act - we can make them represent us, which they are paid to do, if more of us who abhor the violence and the racism speak out,” she stressed.

The Red Thread official also noted that several men came to provide security for persons, who stood vigil between midnight and 6:00 hours. (Shawnel Cudjoe)

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