“The anti-violence walk has now been transformed into the more positive ‘Arima Walk for Peace’ and the timeliness of the call to Arima people to join with us—this hits a raw nerve—will be seen tomorrow when we expect to actively involve many hundreds of ordinary, decent, hard-working people in a non-political, non-sectarian walk to express their collective longing for an end to the daily violence and murder as well as their hope for communal peace and personal security.”
The following Letter to the Editor on the genesis and the meaning of tomorrow’s Arima Walk for Peace, which starts at 8am at the Arima Velodrome, was submitted to Wired868 by Keith Look Loy.
When I saw the family photograph of murdered Kevin Horsford with his wife and two young children, I was sickened. I thought to myself: “This boy could be my son. This woman could be my daughter. These kids could be my grandkids.”
Another family destroyed by mindless violence in our country, in our borough, Arima, Sadly. Of course, it wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last as the crisis of criminality wears on. But something in me rebelled against this particular murder. As much as the next citizen, I have become, I suppose, inured to the daily catalogue of violence and murder. Obviously, we each have our own threshold for what we can live with, ignore, accept, by-pass.
But my spirit rebelled against this one.
I immediately announced on Facebook my club’s (FC Santa Rosa’s) willingness to collaborate with any organisation and/or individual interested in organising an anti-violence walk in Arima. I reached out to sporting organizations across Arima and to Marsicans Steel Orchestra, where the arranger, Marlon White, is a former Santa Rosa youth player. They immediately brought in other Arima steelbands—Arima Angel Harps, Simple Song, La Horquetta Pan Groove, Arima Golden Symphony.
The anti-violence walk has now been transformed into the more positive “Arima Walk for Peace” and the timeliness of the call to Arima people to join with us—this hits a raw nerve—will be seen tomorrow when we expect to actively involve many hundreds of ordinary, decent, hard-working people in a non-political, non-sectarian walk to express their collective longing for an end to the daily violence and murder as well as their hope for communal peace and personal security.
There are, of course, those who scoff at the utility of such an exercise. “What? Another walk? And then what?” is their cynical response. And I understand cynicism in the face of what we live every day.
But I also believe in the power of ONE to change the world. And I believe moreso in the power of the multitude to do so. We must never underestimate the power of collective action.
Never before in the history of Arima has there been such collective action. Never before have the many steelbands of Arima come together to perform as ONE band. Already, this Arima Walk for Peace is a success. It promises a return to a level of unity in our fragmented community—as fragmented as the rest of the society—that has not been seen since the days of Memphis FC (“The Pride of Arima”) in the 1980s.
For the first time in decades, Arima people will rediscover their collective voice tomorrow and stand together against an opponent—not just a visiting football team but the criminal minority that threatens our communal peace.
And then what?
We understand that, beyond the “feel good” factor, the Arima Walk for Peace should potentially provide tangible benefit to walkers. Therefore, our intention is to provide institutional support to those Arima communities, organisations and individuals that want it. The Community Police will be present to speak to those interested in the Police youth clubs (of which there are seven in Arima and environs) or in establishing a neighbourhood watch group.
The Ministry of Community Development will also be present to provide guidance to those who seek it. And the MiLAT Military Academy will also be present to assist those interested in using their institution as a gateway towards a positive life.
Santa Rosa knows this well as we have previously sent young men to MiLAT. Of course, many are the sporting and cultural clubs that will be present and walking.
We do the daily community work of organising young people for positive activity and so many are the sporting and cultural clubs that will be present and walking with us. And we shall remain available after tomorrow’s event for any and all recruits to join us.
The Arima Walk for Peace will not stop the violence but it will empower Arima people. The steelbands are saying they must now use their new-found unity to promote their collective interest. Sporting and cultural organisations that will participate tomorrow are saying we must continue to act together in other matters that affect Arima.
For too long, faced with the criminal onslaught, the majority has been the SILENT majority. Nature abhors a vacuum and the noise of the guns has filled it.
Time now for ordinary people to say, with one voice, “Enough.”
Time now to start reclaiming our right to communal peace and personal security.
One household and one community at a time.