Day of healing aims to bridge racial divide
An antiracism group marked the island’s first day of a move towards racial reconciliation yesterday.
Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda launched the first National Day of Racial Healing at City Hall in Hamilton, designed to highlight racial divisions and the need to close the gap.
Lynne Winfield, the president of Curb, said that the event was sparked by a similar one in the United States that aimed to recognise and move past the malign effects of racism.
She added: “Bermuda’s history of slavery and segregation has many parallels with the US and, as part of the Atlantic world, our histories are intertwined.
“To realise a society free of systemic injustice, we must come together to heal by exploring and unravelling the deeply held racial biases of the past, the biases that hold us back from unleashing our collective energy and potential.”
The National Day of Racial Healing was timed to coincide with Curb’s first Truth and Reconciliation Community conversations of the year.
The meetings, held several times a year since 2017, were set to let the public discuss how racism had impacted Bermuda and what could be done to reverse the damage.
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said that he had signed up for the community conversations to help create change.
He added: “The issues surrounding race are the greatest inhibitors of Bermuda’s future and, if I wanted change, I needed to be part of the resolution.”
Mr Gosling admitted: “It is not easy — some sessions were emotionally exhausting and the story being told was not mine.
“But, unless you are blindly happy with the way things are today, you have to be a part of the conversation.”
The launch event featured poems read by two Curb members, as well as a performance by Rajai Denbrook, Curb’s programme co-ordinator.
Cordell Riley, the vice-president of Curb, discussed the need to combine words with action. He asked: “Must we live in two Bermudas where the gap between the haves and the have nots continues to widen?
“Must we continue to live in a country where Bermudians are first-class citizens but treated as though we are second-class men and women?”
Ms Winfield said she hoped to have greater involvement from members of the public for next year’s racial healing event.
She added: “It’s about getting into people’s minds that these things need to happen. If you have a scar on your arm and it gets infected; just by putting a Band-Aid on doesn’t mean it’s healed.”
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