The term “Step Up Roatan” started out as just an emotional response to the shooting that occurred at Flamingo Cultural Center on September 25, 206. Since then, we’ve gotten so much positive feedback that it has evolved into a movement.
Prior to the incident, we were operating primarily as a bar. After the incident, we decided to remove the bar aspect and operate as a non profit organization. Our mission is to empower Roatan families and preserve our unique Garifuna culture.
This shift in direction was more like the revival of a dormant idea that was sitting in my spirit. My lord and savior took what the enemy intended for bad and used it for good. Only he could create the perfect setup to prevent a tragedy. Let me explain:
Usually, on Sunday’s, we had our regulars plus new visitors, it was our busiest night of the week. At closing time (10:00pm) we always had to excuse ourselves because people did not want to leave. However, on the night of the shooting, for some reason, by 9:15pm, all of our guests were gone, with the exception of the shooter and his two victims.
At that time, I usually go to the house to check on the kids while my husband keeps an eye on the business. On that night for some reason, my husband went to check on the kids while I stayed at the business. After her heard the gunshots he ran out of the house to see what was going on. As he was running towards the business he saw the shooter fleeing the scene. At that moment, he thought the shooter was the victim running for his life. Because of this, he ran towards him with the intentions of helping, but instead was shot at three times. For some reason the only thing my husband felt, was the sand brush his leg.
That night, as I laid on my husband’s chest and watched my 7-month-old daughter sleep, my eyes watered as my nerves kicked in. It hit me all at once how different our night could have ended. I had a quiet moment with the lord to try and calm my nerves. That’s when he revealed to me the reason why everything happened.
The reason why this occurred at the most unexpected place, at the perfect time is because the lord chose me and my family to make a difference. Instead of running away in fear or continuing with business as usual, we took a stand.
We stopped operating as a bar by night and put our efforts in creating programs for women & children. As of November 2016, we will offer English classes for children ages 7-17 yrs old and sewing classes for women. Our mission is to convert Flamingo Cultural Center into a safe haven for women and children, and a cultural preservation site for our Garifuna ancestors. For more information on how you can support our movement CLICK HERE.