Dismont: Families must nurture the young to help end growing violence
Families must come together to end the violence that has scarred our Island community, according to Family Centre executive director Martha Dismont.
Reacting to Wednesday’s shooting that took the lives of Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge, Ms Dismont stressed the importance of strong familial bonds in keeping young people on the right track.
“In our Island home, the difference between those children who do well and those children who do not is usually determined by the amount of sincere care, time and relationships they have at home and with family,” she said.
“This is the anchor that they rely on as they make choices in school, with friends and then as they branch out into the community and onto the roads as young adults.
“Our message is that all solutions to our social problems must start with compassion for the unmet needs of our young and the adults around them. This is a responsibility that each of us must consider and then dig deep to practice.”
She called on the public to focus on collaborative youth initiatives and interventions, while looking into what families and individuals need to take better care of their children so that they can receive any necessary support.
She further said systems in the community that are contributing to low self esteem and a general disconnection to society have to be addressed.
Ms Dismont compared the recent wave of violence to a hurricane, saying that when Bermudians know a storm is coming they break down barriers and come together. She said the thing needs to happen to tackle gang violence.
“Unfortunately, we are reaping what has been sowed over many decades. There is no short cut to nurturing young people as they grow. We must double or triple the investment of our time, support and care for this generation of young ones, and for anyone who is feeling left out, if we want to reverse this pattern of pain.
“The thing that protects children from destructive influences like drugs, crime, gangs and violence is love and the positive attention of nurturing adults in their lives. When these are lacking, they gamble it all because they believe they have nothing to lose.
“When a young person values the meaningful relationships they have with family, teachers and neighbours, they have something priceless to lose and they will protect it fiercely.”