U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore Joined by the Milwaukee Mujeres Against Domestic Violence,
County Supervisor Peggy West and the Umos Latina Resource Center Led Milwaukee’s First Brides Walk Against Domestic Violence
About a year ago, Congresswoman Gwen Moore met Josie Ashton at the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) 2005 Annual Intrepid Awards Dinner in Washington, DC, and was inspired to organize a Brides March in Milwaukee. Josie was the person who originated the idea for the first Brides March Against Domestic Violence which took place in New York City on September 26, 2001.
Back home in Wisconsin, Rep. Moore’s idea took root with the Milwaukee Mujeres Against Domestic Violence and the UMOS Latina Resource Center, and together they organized the first Brides Walk in Milwaukee, on September 17. The Walk was part of the city’s Mexican Independence Day Parade, which draws thousands of onlookers.
In keeping with the Brides March tradition, dozens of women paraded through the streets of Milwaukee in wedding gowns to honor the memory of Gladys Ricart, the young Dominican woman who was killed on her wedding day, in New Jersey, in 1999 (see history of Brides March), and the many other victims and survivors of domestic violence. In the words of Rep. Moore “we are marching to send a message that domestic violence should not be accepted in any culture.”
The walk was kicked off with a news conference and Speak Out early in the day, attended by Rep. Moore, Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton, Josie Ashton, and other speakers and supporters. Also, in coordination with the Brides Walk, Rep. Moore introduced H. Resolution 1012, in the U.S. House of Representatives, honoring the objective of the Brides Marches nationwide to protest domestic Violence. The resolution was co-sponsored by more than 38 lawmakers, with many more expected to lend their support.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rosalia Sercl, owner of the Apollo Bridal shop in Milwaukee helped to make the walk a success by donating 50 wedding dresses.
Commenting about the march, Josie Ashton had the following to say: “I met Congresswoman Gwen Moore last year in Washington DC while receiving the award from NOW. She was sitting at my table and she mentioned that she wanted to do the march in Wisconsin, I smiled and encouraged her. I never heard from her again. I received a phone call from her office on September 12, inviting me to the march on the 17th... It is amazing to think that a small group of people in Washington Heights in a conference room on a late afternoon can have a meeting and change history. We literally changed tragedy into inspiration and sadness into empowerment.”
©2006. National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence. All Rights Reserved.