|Mayor Elsa Paz holds high the torch signifying unity.|
|A poster contest was also held, with the guidelines being that they simply depict the theme: “Silence has a price”|
|Sweeping the competition were Anthony Rivero, Adina Hob and Vivel Rodriguez, of Ambergris Caye Elementary.|
|The local police force was also out in support of the torch run, and helped carry the torch of unity.|
| Children joined in the chants and let their voices be heard as they marched through the streets. “No more violence…silence has a price!”
The unifying torch of hope and continuity arrived on La Isla Bonita on Saturday, November 24th as part of Win-Belize’s 16 days of activism in the fight and struggle to reduce the stigma and discrimination of HIV/Aids and gender based violence in Belizean homes.
Through it annual campaign, “man, woman, one people united to reduce gender based violence and HIV/Aids” the torch is being carried all through the six districts to spread awareness and bring to the forefront of national consciousness that keeping silent is not the way and that “Silence has a price”, which was the fitting theme for this year’s events.
The parade kicked off from the Bowen Distributors’ Center and made its way down the principal streets of town. Determined to keep the flame burning, the schools that participated accepted to carry the torch through the route.
HIV/Aids and gender based violence are very important issues and it is great to see leaders in our community taking a very important role in participation. The torch run was so significant it included the participation of the Mayor of San Pedro Elsa Paz, Area Representative for Belize Rural South Manuel Heredia, Mel Spain, Joe Elijio, the San Pedro AIDS Commission, Miss San Pedro Angela Alamilla, the Fire, Traffic and Police Departments as well as several live groups of energetic students. This year, organizers of the event included a poster contest as an incentive for the kids’ participation. Students who participated were also invited to design a poster depicting the many things that the annual torch run stands for. These posters made them elegible to win cash prizes of $100, $75 or $50. This year, no school was better prepared than Ambergris Caye Elementary who won all three prizes for “best poster”. Kudos you guys!
Everyone walked through the town’s main streets carrying the torch high showing their commitment to breaking the silence and raising awareness of the link that exists between HIV/AIDS and gender based violence. With the unfailing support from the community, the torch run 2007 was well received once again in San Pedro. Later in the evening, the torch run activities were followed with a ‘Rock the Mic’ benefit concert that saw “Some Dudes” from Orange Walk rocking the Lions Den ‘til midnite. The sixteen days of activism will continue as the torch moves to Orange Walk on November 28th, and culminate in Corozal on December 1st.
WIN Belize, which was formed in 1993, is a service oriented network organization that coordinates and facilitates workshops and activities that deal with women issues. The fourteen member agency comprised mainly of members of B.F.L.A (Belize Family Life Association) and Y.E.S (Youth Enhancement Services) not only deal with women issues, but youth and children as well.
Special gratitude is being extended to: Blue Tang Inn, Caliente Restaurant, Triple J Water Taxi, The San Pedro Sun, Lion’s Den, Reef Radio, Graniel’s Dreamland & Cabinet Shop, Giovanni’s Signs, Velie Paz, Pelican Reef Villas and Agua Dulce, Bowen and Bowen. Without them none of this would have been possible. Also, much thanks to those schools that made it out for the torch run even though it was a Saturday: Ambergris Caye Elementary, Holy Cross School, San Pedro Roman Catholic School, and San Pedro High: you guys were awesome, big up!!
On behalf of The San Pedro Sun, and WIN-Belize, hats off and many thanks to the lively group of students from all the schools that participated in the run and everybody that showed support for the cause! Respect!