By Riley Karbon, Field Intern
When Josie Ashton learned of the brutal murder of Gladys Ricart, a 39 year old Dominican woman killed by her ex-boyfriend on her wedding day, she became alarmingly concerned about the prevalence of domestic violence in the Latina community. News articles covering the murder depicted it as a “crime of passion,” and some members of Ricart’s family even said she may have had it coming.
Angered by the outrageous victim-blaming in the community, Ashton turned her concern into action by marching 1,300 miles down the east coast of the United States in Ricart’s honor. She started from Ricart’s hometown in New Jersey and traveled by foot all the way to her own home in Miami, Florida. She raised awareness by making the month-long trek while wearing her wedding dress.
Staying in numerous domestic violence shelters along the way, Ashton encountered many people willing to help and share their own experiences of domestic violence. Her tireless advocacy has inspired an annual six mile “Bride’s March” put on by the New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence on Sept. 26, the anniversary of Ricart’s death. Participants often wear their own wedding dresses or black funeral attire and disseminate bilingual information about the issue of domestic violence and resources for victims in the Latina community.
Bride’s Marches have been organized in various cities around the nation, and Ashton continues to work as a victim advocate in Miami. NOW honored her at their third annual Intrepid Awards Gala in 2005, and this intern is certainly proud to honor her work and hopes others can gain inspiration from her strength and willingness to act.