Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
Virgin Gorda residents joined in solidarity for an awareness walk last weekend to remember the late Zabrina O’Neal who lost her life due to domestic violence.
This year marked 17 years since the passing of Ms. O’Neal, whose boyfriend killed her in 1999 during a domestic dispute. Ms. O’Neal left behind one son.
A ceremony prior to the walk allowed family and members of the community to pay tribute to Zabrina through kind words, poetry and prayer.
Gender Affairs Coordinator, Ms. Lorolie Connor said the initial purpose of the walk was to use the life story of Zabrina as an example of a young person whose life was cut short due to domestic violence.
Ms. Connor encouraged those in attendance to advocate against domestic violence by embodying the theme for this year’s observation by chanting ‘step up, speak out and seek help’ as a tool to remove themselves out of abusive relationships.
Ms. Eleta George, the mother of Zabrina dedicated the poem, ‘I got flowers today’ to her late daughter and also encouraged persons in abusive relationships to speak up or leave because it was not worth losing their life over.
Ms. Mickesha Delpleshe and Lorolie Connor of the Office of Gender Affairs presented the family of Zabrina with a commemorative plaque in remembrance of her and to mark the event.
Other speakers included Bishop Paul Ricketts; Dr. Thomas Alexander who was one of Zabrina’s instructors; Ms. Yvonne O’Neal, Zabrina’s aunt; and Dr. the Honourable Hubert O’Neal, Representative for the Ninth District, who was the uncle of Zabrina. Information Officer, Adrianna Soverall chaired the event.
During the walk, family, friends and residents wore purple, the international color of domestic violence awareness; held candles and glow lights while chanting Zabrina O’Neal’s name and advocating to end domestic violence in the Virgin Islands. The walk began at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College Virgin Gorda Campus, continued towards the pump well and back to the college.
The awareness walk was part of activities in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month which is observed annually to bring awareness to the signs of an abusive relationship and to encourage persons to speak out against it and seek assistance.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitate human development and improves the quality of life in the Virgin Islands.