Marilyn Outerbridge (1951-2021): activist who spoke for the disenfranchised
A mother who channelled her grief into activism after losing her son to gun violence has died at 70.
Marilyn Outerbridge’s 34-year-old son Haile was murdered in a neighbourhood shop alongside his friend Ricco Furbert, 25, in a January 2013 double shooting that shocked the island.
She responded by organising a march to speak out on the social conditions she believed were driving island’s the plague of gun violence.
Ms Outerbridge told The Royal Gazette: “This situation is not just my situation – it’s all of Bermuda’s situation.
“We all have a responsibility to our country and to our countrymen. So if you think I’m here grieving for my son, you have got it wrong. I’m grieving for all of our children everywhere – every last one of them.”
She added: “They are hurt, and hurt people hurt other people. They are our children, and if we don’t do something about it, then we will continue to suffer.”
Nicole Fox, mother of Mr Furbert, took a similar path, helping to found the support group Mothers on a Mission.
Ms Outerbridge, of Happy Valley, Pembroke, traced her resilience to her faith in St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church.
Ms Outerbridge’s efforts included giving a song recorded by her son, who went by Star Child, to the island’s campaign against gang and gun violence.
She readily shared her views and experiences at memorials.
Ms Outerbridge spoke out politically within months of her son’s death, leading the group Concerned Citizens in a demonstration outside the House of Assembly.
Although often outspoken in her views, she swiftly toned down demonstrators that she felt got out of hand.
Ms Outerbridge said she spoke for Black Bermudians who felt disenfranchised.
She told the Gazette in February 2013: “If we weren’t so separated in this country we would stand as one, even though it’s only our young Black men being murdered.
“If we say it takes a village to raise a child, we should know the village does not only consist of Black people. But it’s only our young Black men who are killing each other.
“For me it’s time to do the right thing and stand up to ask why haven’t we solved this problem.”
A memorial service for Ms Outerbridge was held yesterday at Fort Hamilton in Pembroke.
• Marilyn Alfreda Outerbridge, a community activist, was born on July 1, 1951. She died in August 2021, aged 70