Blue campaign in memory of roads deaths hailed a success
A mother who lost her son in a crash said she was moved to see members of the public cover the island in blue yesterday in memory of him and others who have died on the roads.
Antoinette Burgess said that she had “never dreamt” of seeing the blue clothes campaign that started after the death of son, Kijani, who was 16, expand beyond the walls of his former school.
She added: “It makes me feel happy because it’s bringing awareness to an island-wide safety concern.
“Even though it was just one day I think it makes an impact on how we view road safety.”
Ms Burgess was speaking after the wear blue campaign, which started in 2020, was held outside the Bermuda Institute in Southampton, her son’s former school, and opened to the public for the first time.
The campaign started in 2020 after Kijani was killed when his scooter was in collision with a taxi and he fell into the path of a fire engine.
The teenager’s classmates wore Kijani’s favourite colour and a special pin days after his death in memory of the youngster and others killed on the roads.
The campaign, organised by the Kijani Burgess Dream Charity and Pain Into Purpose, a campaign group created by Kijani’s classmates, asked people to carry out at least one act of kindness.
They also sold pins, ribbons and key chains online and accepted donations to raise cash for Pain Into Purpose’s road safety and support work.
The campaign aims to help grieving families by helping them get in contact with counsellors and publishing a book on how to deal with grief.
Ms Burgess also set up the Kijani Burgess Dream Award as a scholarship for Bermuda Institute former pupils.
She said it was still too early to tally up the donations and the amount of pins, ribbons and key chains sold.
But she added that the demand for the memorial items was so high organisers were still delivering pins and ribbons yesterday.
Ms Burgess said: “I’m just hoping that this not only makes us think about road safety but also inspiring others to be kind to another person.
“In the end we just want to help people get through their pain.”
Ms Burgess said all the fundraising items would remain on sale until stocks ran out.
Several schools, including the Bermuda Institute, took part in the blue clothes campaign yesterday and shared photographs on social media with the hashtags #painintopurpose and #painintopurposebermuda.
Saltus and Warwick Academy highlighted pupils who died or were injured in road traffic accidents.
Wayne Edwards, the principal of the Bermuda Institute, said that the campaign was crucial in highlighting the need for better road safety.
He added: “Bringing this to the attention of our young people reminds them that speeding effects not just them but the entire island.
“Many individuals don’t think it will happen to them – it always happens to someone else – but sadly they’re not there to see if that happens for sure.”