Theatre Boycott 60 years on: still busy being born

  • Observant youth: a group of students turn back the clock to the period that prompted desegregation

    Observant youth: a group of students turn back the clock to the period that prompted desegregation

  • Observant youth: a group of students turn back the clock to the period that prompted desegregation

    Observant youth: a group of students turn back the clock to the period that prompted desegregation

  • Glenn Fubler

    Glenn Fubler

“He not busy being born is busy dying”

This quote from Bob Dylan speaks to the capacity of humans to decide how we navigate our life journeys. The following is an example of people “busy being born” — 60 years ago.

On February 8, 1959, after more than 120 years of segregation in Bermuda, a small number of people gathered in Town Hill, Flatts, for the first secret meeting of the Progressive Group. Deciding to be “busy being born”, they began a process over many weeks, envisioning a better Bermuda, and brainstormed ways to bring that about.

After months shaping a vision and sparking the Theatre Boycott, by early July the barriers were falling. That turning point promoted a transformation of Bermuda that seemed impossible until it was done.

Looking back in appreciation of the Progressive Group and the many others on whose shoulders we stand today, we can honour that legacy by exploring ways to carry forward their torch, their baton.

Those who effected the transformation in Bermuda in 1959 affirmed life on both the personal and communal levels of our society.

Let’s join in honouring our stewardship for this legacy in simple ways that affirm all lives today.

Please be invited over the next few months, between now and June 30, to consider how this may be done both personally as well as communally.

We may first take some time to reflect on those turning points from our personal history, which offer examples of being “busy being born”.

After that, we could brainstorm with others on pilot projects designed to move ourselves forward in personal and communal ways.

The following ideas may facilitate that brainstorming:

• Individuals could commit to a wellness plan

• Families may choose to hold regular meetings to facilitate communication

• Neighbourhoods could organise some “getting to know you” opportunities

• Organisations/schools could facilitate the opportunity for willing subgroups — departments or classes — to stage transformative pilot projects

Last Friday, 18 students from Elliot Primary, Whitney Institute and Somersfield Academy gathered in Flatts to symbolically launch the three-month observance. The youngsters visited two locations where members of the Progressive Group would park their vehicles to avoid drawing undue attention to the meeting site — the home of Edouard and Roslyn Williams. (She was an Elliot teacher at the time.)

These locations included Flatts Field, a few minutes’ walk by short cut from the Williamses’ home. The other favourite parking site was the aquarium, which — in the spirit of synergy — remains a centre for maintaining and renewing local flora and fauna.

The observance’s goal over these three months is to foster collaboration across the island that speaks to the theme “Busy Being Born” in practical ways. As we look back in appreciation of the many on whose shoulders we stand, we are encouraging each other to join in creating a better Bermuda today.

During the launch on Friday, some students spontaneously played key roles. A Somersfield student provided fellow pupils with an impressive, nutshell explanation of the term “boycott”.

One Whitney student leveraged the learning opportunity by seeking clarification on the theme.

I was highly impressed when, early in my effort to clarify, one of her fellow middle school classmates chimed in: “The goal of this observance is like that of the Renaissance.”

Given that this M2 student was able to provide a wonderfully global perspective, it looks like this three-month initiative is off to a great start.

We wish to express appreciation to the Daltonelle Minors, of Elliott, Stacey DeShield, of Whitney, and Stacey Williams, of Somersfield, for their collaboration. We also thank Marsh Smith for donating his support with his drone-assisted photography.

Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda

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Published Feb 15, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 15, 2019 at 6:25 am)

Theatre Boycott 60 years on: still busy being born

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