Best: we must bridge racial divide
Clyde Best called on Bermudians to look each other in the eye and bridge their racial divide.
Mr Best, the island's famous footballer, said: “One thing my mother always told me — and I carry it in life today — if you treat people the way you want to be treated, you don't have a problem. And I believe in that.
“Whatever problems we have here, it's high time we solve them and get them straightened out.”
Mr Best spoke to The Royal Gazette at the Grateful Bread's monthly dinner at St Andrew's Church.
The event provided community members in need with a meal, clothing, household necessities and toiletries.
Juliana Snelling, the founder of Grateful Bread, said the event was about community members with more helping those with less.
Ms Snelling said the events, which began in 2017, were about trying the bridge the racial divide.
She explained: “Bermuda tends at five o'clock to go its separate racial ways, socially.
“For some reason, you go to your parties and we're split again on racial lines.
“Tonight shows we're not just busy white people going to work, or busy black successful people going to work.”
Ms Snelling said the events were about showing a “hate” for the divide. She added: “We come together to celebrate with you as friends — to give and to share — together.”
Mr Best said the racial make-up of Bermuda mandated addressing divisions.
He added: “For those people that harbour those feelings and don't want to deal with them — I think a lot of them need to have their heads examined. It takes all types to make it work.”
The former West Ham United forward suffered racist abuse when he played for the East London club in the 1960s and 1970s.
He said that dialogue was needed.
Mr Best added: “It's something that's not just going to go away overnight.
“You have to sit down and talk — like we are talking now — and be honest with one another and look one another in the eye.
“If we can do that, we can help solve the problem.
“Let's learn to live and love and respect one another — and then we can go ahead and do what we need to do.”
Ms Snelling described Mr Best as the “Jackie Robinson of football” and a hero to Bermuda.
She said he immediately jumped on the opportunity to help when contacted.
Ms Snelling added: “It was that simple.
“It's a huge thing to us to be graced by him coming.”
Ms Snelling said that she hoped the organisation could continue to attract guest speakers and volunteers in the year ahead.
She said the group wanted to reach those “who wanted to give back in a meaningful way that's not just writing a cheque”.
Ms Snelling said that several guests at the Grateful Bread events had gone on to become hosts, which she was “wonderful”.
Jamel Hassell attended his first event last year for the food.
But the 37-year-old Pembroke resident said: “Once I found out that I could be a team player, that's when I joined.
“It's a good way of giving back to my community.
Ms Snelling said that Mr Hassell had become one of the organisation's official cleaners.
He also helped hand dinner tickets to guests and other duties as needed.
Mr Hassell said he took pride in being able to assist.
He explained: “The energy is good giving back — what you sow is what you reap.
“It's beneficial long term and it's good for the community and for society.”
Mr Best said taking part in the event was also about trying to give back.
He added: “My one message to everyone — always look out for those that are less fortunate than yourself.
“And don't be afraid to help.”