Community leaders ‘pause for peace’ and call for end to violence
Dozens of people came together at Devonshire Recreation Club on Good Friday to call for peace in the wake of the recent surge of violent crime that has cost two young men their lives this month.
The Pause for Peace event, organised by Imagine Bermuda, was intended to help bring members of the community together and foster connections to address gang violence.
Mark Steede, club president, praised those who give back to the community and urged them not to give up, saying young people need support.
“A lot of my friends have either died or are in jail,” he said. “That’s the harsh reality of it.
“Becoming the president was my way of giving back to the community and to give children an outlet.
“Continue to reach out to someone, to teach that one, to give them hope because that’s what happened to me.”
Mr Steede, who was presented with an olivewood tree as part of the event, said both children and plants needed to be nurtured in order to thrive.
He said: “If you don’t water it, it won’t grow. If you don’t give back to young children, they don’t grow.
“Let’s nurture that plant, and like that plant, let’s nurture our youths.”
Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, told attendees that he would do everything in his power to address the issues of gun and knife violence in the community.
Mr Weeks said: “It’s not a new phenomenon, and we as a community are in a time when it has become commonplace, but we must treat it like it is new and come together as a community.
“Peace should not just be a catchword, it should not be a soundbite. It should be an ideal we all hold dearly.
“It’s going to take each and every one of us coming together and doing our part.”
Kim Jackson of the Mirror’s Programme urged those in attendance to do something kind for their neighbours in the next two months.
She said: “Help someone. Clean up. Give. Listen. Just one act of kindness in the next two months, and then pause and reflect on the significant change it makes in the community.”
Glen Fubler of Imagine Bermuda noted Devonshire Rec was an “enclave” for thousands of people during the social conflicts of the 1960s.
He recalled: “When I came onto this field we could see the weapons that had been brought to this area. Not guns, but pipes. Machetes.
“There was a lot of anger that was brought up, but that anger was transformed in this space by discussion and by dialogue.”