Wear red on Monday to reject violence
An anti-violence campaigner has called for a colourful display by members of the public next week as part of a bid to beat gang warfare.
The Bermuda Wears Red event on Monday has been backed by local businesses, teachers and the Government.
Desmond Crockwell said that red was chosen for the event because it represented love.
He added: “We want to let our young people — particularly involved in the gang-type activity — to know that Bermuda loves them and we will consciously show that love collectively.”
Mr Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, said he hoped young men caught up in violence would talk to family members of a friend who had been murdered.
He added: “Tell them you love them enough that you will start to make a change.”
Mr Crockwell said that a red event held at Bermuda College last autumn had been successful.
He added: “The response was tremendous and encouraging — so we decided to take it to the general public.”
The Monday event was timed to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr Day — named for the leader of the US civil rights movement who was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1968 by a white extremist.
Mr Crockwell said the day provided the perfect opportunity to promote peace in Bermuda, and said that the campaign would be a success if just one person was inspired to change.
He explained: “We don’t know where the impact ends — one life can save another.”
Mr Crockwell dismissed the idea that island businesses did not care about the violence.
Mr Crockwell said that law firm Conyers, Dill & Pearman had backed the event, and that its sponsorship would allow hundreds of copies of Visionz to be distributed to the public.
He added that he had also spoken to other businesses keen to back the campaign.
Mr Crockwell said: “The violence that has plagued our island does have an impact on everyone.
“Many of these businesses are concerned citizens who want to play a part in the solution and we believe there are businesses who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.”
He said that he had also contacted schools about the event.
Carlos Symonds, the principal at Somersfield Academy, said the school backed the view the violence was a “family emergency”.
Mr Symonds added: “When a family emergency occurs, it is expected that family members will rally to support each other.
“We, therefore, stand in solidarity and unity with the wider Bermuda community.”
He said that Somersfield families “do not live in an alternate reality”.
Mr Symonds explained: “No more than ‘Bermuda is another world’ are private schools inoculated against the violence affecting the community.
“An independent education does not immunise a student against pain.”
Mr Symonds said that the school’s bells would toll at noon Monday out of respect to those who have lost loved ones to violence.
He added: “I would encourage all other schools to do the same.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said that Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, gave permission for Mr Crockwell to contact middle and senior school principals about the event.
The spokeswoman added each principal would decide whether their school would take part.
She said: “The commissioner did encourage schools that choose to participate to hold at least one anti-violence activity on that day.”
Wayne Furbert, the acting Minister of National Security, said Mr Crockwell’s event was an “excellent example of our community working to make itself whole”.
He added: “As such, it has our full support and endorsement.”
For more information on the event call 297-2018 or e-mail email@example.com