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For the youth, by the youth

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Bermuda has been beset by antisocial behaviour and youth violence throughout the Covid-19 pandemic — and some might argue that the present malaise has been ingrained for far longer.

Bermuda Youth Connect’s founding members Veronica Swan-DeGraff, left, Ajai Peets, Halle Teart, and Tierrai Tull

Reports of teenagers being murdered and others the victims and perpetrators of knife crime — some in broad daylight on busy city streets — are enough to make the casual observer believe the country is going to hell in a handbasket, for all that those who are expected to be the guardians of our future have “no go-to and no come-from”.

However, such doom-mongering is so far from the reality, as somewhat overshadowed by the sensationalism of news and other current events that depict the youth in a negative way is a core group of young Bermudians who are passionate about not only improving the lot of their fellow age-groupers but also opening the eyes and minds of the older set so that they may be better appreciated, better understood and more respected.

In short, the youth have something to say.

The Royal Gazette is equally humbled and proud to provide a platform for that to happen.

Starting today, the social organisation Bermuda Youth Connect begins a series of columns in our opinion pages.

Founded before the 2020 General Election by the ultra-impressive quartet of Halle Teart, Veronica Swan-DeGraff, Ajai Peets and Tierrai Tull, Bermuda Youth Connect aims to increase youth political participation through civic education, discourse and debate.

The group should be no stranger to Bermuda after its efforts in holding the island’s first Pre-Election Youth and National Leaders Forums. This included interviews with David Burt, the leader of the governing Progressive Labour Party, Craig Cannonier, then the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, and Marc Bean, the founder of the Free Democratic Movement.

In the youth forum, three representatives from each political party were interviewed, with the discussions streamed on the Gazette and many other social-media platforms, generating thousands of viewers and stimulating discourse throughout the community.

Bermuda Youth Connect’s long-term mission is to fundamentally change and address the civic participation gap in Bermuda, as there is a belief that existing curriculums do very little to give young people language and knowledge to conceive everyday issues as connected to politics.

During the partnership with the Gazette for this initiative, Bermuda Youth Connect will share knowledge, projects and occasionally respond to local events in written form. And it will call on as many as four partners to contribute, including Bermuda Is Love, Future Leaders Bermuda, PurpleMent and You Aren’t Fragile.

Bermuda Is Love is an organisation that promotes collaboration, responsibility and activism with love for the community and environment.

Future Leaders Bermuda is a community organisation that empowers passionate young leaders, arming them with the skills they need to make a positive impact in Bermuda and in the world today.

PurpleMent is a media organisation devoted to education and support for mental health.

You Aren't Fragile is a social organisation focusing on female empowerment.

Each of these groups will employ a series of writers whose opinion will be seen on the Gazette’s and their own platforms on a rotation basis.

It is to be expected these columns will be a beneficial endeavour for the greater community, especially underrepresented youth voices. This is an opportunity to improve the relationship between young people and the media, and to encourage the youth to voice what matters to them.

Bermuda Youth Connect gets the ball rolling here with its take on the country’s democracy.

This is an exciting time for the Gazette and we hope it’s equally exciting for our young partners, who have shown already that the future is indeed very bright.

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Published April 18, 2022 at 8:05 am (Updated April 18, 2022 at 2:46 pm)

For the youth, by the youth

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