Curb wins an admirer in Canada

  • Lynne Winfield, president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (File photograph)

    Lynne Winfield, president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (File photograph)

Truth and reconciliation efforts by an anti-racism group have won international praise.

Now, Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda talks are to be used as a framework for discussions in Canada over the treatment of its First Nations peoples. The announcement came as the latest round of Curb discussion groups gets under way today, two years after they were launched.

Lynne Winfield, the president of Curb, said the group was contacted late last year by Kevin Cutler of the International Institute for Restorative Practice in Canada.

The IIRP is a global group set up to offer training in restorative practices, a social science that emerged from restorative justice, which was designed to mediate between criminals and their victims.

Mr Cutler, a trainer in restorative practices, was impressed with Curb’s presentation at an IIRP world conference in Detroit in October 2018.

Bruce Schenk, the director of IIRP Canada, later asked to use Curb’s material for a similar programme on the experiences of indigenous people in Canada.

Mr Schenk congratulated Ms Winfield on her talk at the Detroit event in a letter sent in December last year.

The letter said: “Certainly, those of us in Canada can relate to the issues you are facing as a country and we also are impressed by the processes your organisation has developed in order to engage members of your community in restorative conversations.

“Our country is facing a similar journey regarding indigenous people in Canada and IIRP Canada is in the process of developing materials and processes that will enable us to effectively facilitate these much needed conversations.”

Ms Winfield said that Curb had agreed and was now sending material to Canada.

This week Mr Schenk praised “the thoughtful and comprehensive nature of the documents and the whole process, which looks amazing”.

He told Ms Winfield: “You and others have done an incredible amount of reflection and careful work in putting all this together. I am sure people in Bermuda are being deeply impacted by your work and that of the facilitators and others involved.”

Ms Winfield said that participants in the island talks were 45 per cent white, with the rest black or biracial.

She added that women outnumbered men by two to one. and that the exercise “definitely needs more men”.

Participants will meet as a group for two-and-a-half hours once a week for seven weeks.

Conversations are guided by lead organiser Hashim Estwick, with two assistants, Gwen Creary and Margaret Downing Dill.

All are trained in restorative practices by the IIRP. Each meeting has a topic, ranging from hidden history to intergenerational trauma. The sessions also feature short film clips and other resources and group conversations.

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Published Feb 6, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 6, 2019 at 7:17 am)

Curb wins an admirer in Canada

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