After two difficult years for Virgin Islanders and the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix, the beloved Women Race will take off June 12 in Frederiksted. Women around the world can participate as long as they register on the website, run two miles on June 10 or 11 and post their times by 11:55 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on June 11.
“We’re excited that the Women Race committee decided on a hybrid event. Our communities on island get to experience race day again, and Women Racers around the world can participate, as part of the movement for peace and justice, too.” Clema Lewis, WCSC executive director, said.
The 38th iteration of the Women Race will be run, walked, danced, or skipped live for the first time since 2019. This year, participants can even participate on a treadmill or in a wheelchair. The award ceremony, recognizing live and virtual participants, will take place immediately after the event on June 12.
According to Lewis, the race also is for victims and survivors of violence in their healing journey. Whether they participate or watch from the sidelines, they know the women in the race support them.
The upcoming race is not the only project the Women’s Coalition has on its table. The group will begin broadcasting live on the first Wednesday of every month on the radio show “Let’s Talk: EEEzing into Change” on Isle 95.
Lewis said Jonathan Cohen, owner of JKC Communications, reached out to offer the organization the on-air opportunity. The Coalition was given one hour a month, from 2-3 p.m., to talk with experts about the issues and causes related to the WCSC’s work, including services for victims of violence, their families, and programs for youth.
Additionally, thanks to two grants, WCSC will launch a six-week financial literacy course for victims and survivors of violence from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and a grant from LibertyVI to teach women how to start a small business.
“We want them to learn how to manage their own money and be on a more equal standing with others in the community,” Lewis said.
Future plans include opening a community center that has been two to three years in the making – “a place for everyone,” she said.
In addition to new programs and a new building, the Women’s Coalition’s most important project is helping women deal with domestic violence and abuse, and that continued “full blast” during the pandemic. The shelter didn’t close, nor were any programs discontinued during the two years and continuing today, according to Lewis. During the height of the virus, they provided services, including transitional housing, with advocates and counselors working out of their homes.
Additionally, the organization, like many others, has lost staff, and continuing the programs is more difficult with fewer employees. Currently, the Women’s Coalition needs a fundraiser, a bookkeeper, employees at Closet to Closet thrift shop, and volunteers for various programs. Anyone interested in helping should look on the website, Lewis said.
“Day-to-day, it’s really hectic,” Lewis said.
Women and girls can register for the Women Race at the website wcstx.org and other social channels. The fee is $20 and includes the commemorative tee-shirt. Registration in Frederiksted on June 12 is $25. Girls aged 13 and under register for free.