Minister of Home Affairs opens 16 Days of Activism

Minister of Home Affairs Cora Richardson-Hodge.

ANGUILLA–Minister of Home Affairs Cora Richardson-Hodge has opened the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence” that runs from November 25 to December 10. It is a global initiative supported in Anguilla by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Gender Affairs Unit, under the theme “Leaving No One Behind – Anguilla Strong.”

She explained that the programme is a United Nations initiative to help prevent violence and abuse in communities, by encouraging activism and engagement. “Every year, these 16 Days bring to light the issues of eliminating gender-based violence, empowering human rights defenders, hearing the voices and concerns of our young men and women, and promoting local activism in order to solve hard-pressing issues facing our island,” she said.

She noted that following the passage of Hurricane Irma she has seen first-hand how important activism is in communities through the men, women and children who helped with the physical clean-up of the island and who continue to ensure community well-being emotionally, mentally and spiritually. “The 16 Days of Activism takes on a new light for us this year as we have a deeper understanding of what community involvement truly is,” she said.

The 2017 activities began on November 25, which was International Day for Eliminating Violence against Women. There was a panel discussion titled “Post-Disaster Stress and Domestic Violence” at Radio Anguilla as part of the Social Solutions programme. This panel discussion, in partnership with the University of the West Indies Open Campus, highlighted the link between disaster and domestic violence and how to reduce its occurrence in Anguilla.

During the 16 days there will be messages on Radio Anguilla relating to stopping violence and abuse and there will be a special Men’s Pledge. This will allow men to speak out against violence and hold other men accountable for ending all forms of abuse against women. From today, November 27 until November 30, the Young Men’s Empowerment Conference titled “There’s Value in Me” will be spearheaded by the One Accord community organisation. This conference focuses on realigning young men toward their purpose despite any setbacks they may face, whether natural or man-made. As young men begin to understand their personal value, they will develop themselves and the future generations. The “Value in Me” conference puts the tools in their hands, supporting them as they tap into their potential.

The Gender Affairs Unit and telecommunications company FLOW are hosting a Young Girls Chat in recognition of International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, on Wednesday, November 29. All teenage girls are invited to FLOW for interactive and motivational discussions on Wednesday, around the theme “Black Girls Rock – Women Making a Difference.”

The Minister praised the Gender Affairs Unit in Anguilla and committed to supporting all the programmes. “These efforts help to strengthen us as a society so that truly “No one is Left Behind.” Let’s all embrace a spirit of activism as the island continues to rebuild and renew with unending “Unity, Strengths and Endurance,” she concluded.

Source: The Daily Herald