More than 100 women stepped into wedding gowns Tuesday to highlight an issue they said many people are reluctant to talk about. NY1's Angi Gonzalez's field the following report.
About 200 participants walked nearly seven miles from Northern Manhattan to the Bronx for the 17th annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk. A nice of Ricart, Lethy Liriano, was among those who marched this year.
"These organizations in our community make it possible for us to share our story to possibly prevent people from feeling the need to stay in damaging relationships," Liriano said.
Ricart was wearing her wedding dress when she was shot dead by an ex-boyfriend as she was heading to church to marry another man.
Marchers honor her and other victims on the anniversary of her death, Sept. 26, by marching in wedding dresses, a sight intended to grab attention — and it is hoped start a conversation with passersby.
"It's very powerful to see the sea of white," march participant Maritza Rodriguez said.
"There's always a constant need to raise awareness about domestic violence," said Raquel Singh, the executive director of the group Voices of Women. "It hasn't ended, its ever changing, and it gets new victims every day."
The march begins every year in Washington Heights, where Ricart lived.
But the annual event has expanded to other cities, and this year to Queens, where Jasmine Ortiz marched.
She shared her story of surviving domestic violence, with other marchers in Woodhaven.
"It's time for us to have a voice and to speak up about what is going on in our own households," Ortiz said.
Along the way, some participants passed out information on domestic violence resources, and they came in English and Spanish, and organizers said there was a good reason for that.
"Domestic violence happens in all communities: Black, white, Hispanic," Liriano said.
This year, as in the past, most of the marchers were women. But organizers hope to change that.
"If we can start getting men involved, who can start becoming activists, I think it will really change the narrative," said marcher Sam Gilbert.
Changing the narrative to save lives.