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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Teachers Assn. to sponsor human ribbon against gender violence on International Women’s Day

Puerto Rico Teachers Association President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials), along with a group of men and women committed to an anti-gender violence educational process, will make a citizens’ call on Friday, March 8, International Women’s Day, to send a message about the importance of education in stopping violence against women.

To that end, a human ribbon will be formed by the people who meet that day, dressed in violet shirts, on the grounds of El Morro in Old San Juan at 10 a.m.

“Well, we want to inform all the people of Puerto Rico that the Puerto Rico Teachers Association has inserted itself into this call to celebrate the bond of love against sexist violence,” AMPR President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez said Wednesday at a press conference, where he noted that the island’s schools are “the beginning of at least … seeing this problem, which is not just [a concern] of the judiciary, of the government, but also an initiative of the Department of Education to be able to eradicate this evil that at this time is of great importance in our society.”

Erika García Santiago, a teacher at Pablo D. Burgos Marrero school in Corozal and a member of the AMPR board of directors, stressed that “it is necessary to delve into this issue through education in schools, families, churches, communities and the media, in order to cultivate love and promote peace.”

“Our aspiration as a country should be to have an education that builds relationships of respect, equality and cooperation between genders, that strengthens a culture of human rights and that does not validate or reproduce stereotypes, prejudices and inequities,” she said.

Bonilla Sánchez added that since its foundation, the AMPR has promoted the teaching of equity and respect as vehicles to address social inequalities and end the different forms of discrimination, as well as the paradigms of superiority that often occur in some social groups.

“The Teachers Association has historically been involved in all the struggles that we as a country have undertaken to achieve a more equitable and just society,” he said.

Currently, Puerto Rico is going through one of its worst periods of sexist violence. In January of this year alone, 423 cases of domestic violence were registered, an increase of 152 compared to the same period in 2023, and there were 19 femicides.

Lisdel Flores Barger, the executive director of the Ruth Home for Battered Women, pointed out that “for us at the Ruth Home it is an excellent initiative, it is an initiative to raise awareness on a mass level.”

“It breaks the paradigms of what we are used to doing, which are the traditional marches, … the claims of inequality, of inequality toward women,” she said. “It breaks away from that same pattern to bring a message of solidarity, of love, of awareness so that then, boys and girls begin to ask, from an early age, why this effort is being created, what is the importance of this effort. So, creating that awareness among children and adults, I think it’s an excellent way to start talking about the issue from all sectors.”

Dr. Irma Lugo Nazario, a recognized leader of the feminist movement in Puerto Rico, added that “today we announce the Ribbon of Love against sexist violence, to be carried out during the International Women’s Day, to denounce the different manifestations of violence that women experience, here and in all parts of the world, …”

“It is also a space for reflection that seeks to raise awareness about how violence impacts and affects our personal, family, community and social lives,” she said.

The Ribbon of Love Against Sexist Violence will begin in front of the School of Studio Arts with the animation of Cordelia González, Anibelle Sloan and the participation of several pacifist leaders from various sectors.

In charge of the design will be students from the Community Design Workshop of the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture, under the direction of Prof. Elio Martínez Joffre.

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