Zara Aleena’s family is holding a vigil to ‘walk her home’ this weekend

Candlelit vigil
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On Sunday 26 June, a man murdered Zara Aleena as she walked home in Ilford, East London. Jordan McSweeney appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on 29 June. He was charged with her murder, as well as robbery and attempted rape.

Aleena’s devastated family shared a moving tribute ahead of a vigil to ‘walk her home’ on Saturday.

Solidarity and condolences

A man attacked Aleena near her home in Ilford, East London at 2am as she was on her way home from a night out.

In a moving tribute to their slain loved one, Aleena’s family shared:

She walked everywhere. She put her party shoes in a bag and donned her trainers. She walked. Zara believed that a woman should be able to walk home. Now, her dreams of a family are shattered, her future brutally taken.

Many took to Twitter to share their solidarity and condolences. Deborah Coles – the director of INQUEST, a charity that works to support bereaved families impacted by state violence –  tweeted:

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Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, shared:

And writer Taj Ali said:

Not an isolated incident

In their statement, Aleena’s family said:

In a savage, sickening, act she was murdered by a stranger. She’s not the only woman who has lost her life like this. In the moment of this tragedy, we extend our deepest sympathy and love to the families of Bibaa Henry; Nicole Smallman; Sarah Everard; Sabina Nessa; Ashling Murphy and many more women.

They added:

We must PREVENT and STOP violence against women and girls.

As The Canary‘s Eliza Egret highlighted following the murder of Sabrina Nessa in September 2021, women are even more at risk of experiencing misogynistic violence in their own homes.

Reflecting this, feminist campaign group Level Up shared:

Stop the victim blaming

Responding to a victim blaming response to Aleena’s murder, journalist Lorraine King shared:

Underlining that it isn’t women’s responsibility to moderate their behaviour in the face of misogynistic violence, another Twitter user shared:

Indeed, male violence is the issue here. This systemic issue demands a systemic response. This means a total transformation of our culture and society. Every man has a role to play in this.

Vigil to ‘walk Zara home’

Aleena’s family plans to hold a vigil in her memory on Saturday 2 July at 1:30pm to “walk her home”.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition campaign group tweeted:

Aleena’s family is inviting members of the public to join them and help to ‘walk her home’. They have asked attendees to wear white, and to maintain a “silent and sombre” atmosphere for the vigil.

Featured image via Mike Ralph/Unsplash resized 770 x 403px

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