On the heels of last weekend’s ‘Pride March’ by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, a group of women have planned their own activity for Emancipation Day.
However, the founder of the Blessed Widow Ministry, Sharmane Roland-Bowen, is dismissing suggestions that the event is being held in response to last Sunday’s LBGT march.
On the contrary, Roland-Bowen said the Blessed Widow March was designed to officially launch, and bring awareness to, her organization, which was started last year as a support group for women who have lost their husbands.
“I just want to create an avenue to help widows and make them know there is an entity out there to help them. So months ago I would have decided why not use this Emancipation Day to capitalize on that word emancipation. So I thought this would be a good idea to get Christians to come out and walk,” she said.
“So last week there was a march with the LGBT. So now I am hearing that our walk is in response to what had happened and is a knee jerk approach to what would have happened last weekend, but it is not. This march was conceptualized months ago. You had to go to the police, you had to go to the Ministry of Transport, you had to go different places – the sports council, insurance and so on. All of this had to be put together and we wanted to use that particular day because it is all about emancipation,” she explained.
Blessed Widow Ministry seeks to give widows hope and to help them sharpen their skills.
“We find that when their husbands are taken away they are so vulnerable and they want that security back,” said Roland-Bowen, who is herself a widow.
“So the ministry aims to educate and empower by teaching them skills, training them and getting jobs for them because a lot of these widows, when you reach 50 you can no longer compete with the difficult job market. It is hard for them to find jobs,” she said, adding that help would also be provided to widows in accessing loans to start their own businesses.
On Wednesday, marchers will leave the playing field in Lears, St Michael at 6:30 a.m. and travel to the roundabout in Hothersal Turning, before returning to Lears by 10 a.m.
“For those persons who feel that this is something in response to what happened last weekend it is not. We are not here to condemn or to judge, all we are here for is to love,” Roland-Bowen said, adding that the march was free and non-denominational.