Miami-Dade County

Hundreds of women in white will march to end domestic abuse

South Florida's first College Brides Walk, intended to raise awareness of domestic and dating violence, was Friday, February 11, 2011. The event kicked off at Barry University.
South Florida's first College Brides Walk, intended to raise awareness of domestic and dating violence, was Friday, February 11, 2011. The event kicked off at Barry University. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Last month, thousands of Miami women gathered to protest for women’s rights at Bayfront Park. For many, it was their first march. But for several hundred women in Miami, marching for their rights is nothing new.

On Friday, about a thousand women dedicated to stamping out domestic abuse will march from Barry University in Miami Shores to Johnson & Wales University in North Miami in the seventh annual College Brides Walk.

Ladies are encouraged to wear white (or bridal gowns) and men to wear tuxedos as a nod to the namesake of the College Brides Walk: Gladys Ricart. She was murdered by her ex-boyfriend on her wedding day in 1999.

The annual march began two years later in New Jersey and spread to cities in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New York. The Miami march, at Barry, was started seven years ago with about 300 participants.

This year, the College Brides Walk will start at 11 a.m. Those who don’t want to walk can participate in workshops, performances, art and activism activities. Walkers who make it to Johnson & Wales will get lunch and a shuttle ride back to Barry. Amy Daumit, a domestic violence survivor and founder of the advocacy group Forget Me Not will address the crowd.

Laura Finley, who teaches sociology and criminology at Barry, will lead the event and speak about her research into dating and domestic violence. College students and other young women are most at risk for intimate partner violence, she said, which makes early education on abusive behavior crucial.

“This is a really preventable problem,” she said.

Finley said she expects the post-election activism fervor that brought huge crowds to the Miami Women’s March will bring newcomers to Barry’s march, too.

“It’s a scary time,” she said. “This is an urgent issue. You’re going to leave feeling like you’re empowered and inspired to help your community.”

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc

If you go:

What: College Brides Walk from Barry University in Miami Shores to Johnson & Wales University in North Miami.

When: Friday, opening ceremony at 10 a.m. at Broad Center for the Performing Arts at Barry, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Walk starts at 11 a.m.

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