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Black Lives Bermuda makes boycott about-turn

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A grassroots racial justice movement has dropped a planned boycott of supermarkets in favour of an alternative proposal to boost black-owned businesses.

Black Lives Bermuda admitted they got a “mixed” reception after they called on supporters to avoid specific supermarkets in a string of one-week boycotts, which was scheduled to start this week with The Supermart on Front Street.

Dynera Bean and Jasmine Brangman, organisers of the demonstration in Hamilton, said yesterday they had changed tactics in response to public views.

The group said in a Facebook post: “We now know our announcement to boycott The Supermart was extreme and has not been received favourably.”

The statement added that the boycott call was made because of the high price of “goods and services” essential to normal life.

The post said the group could “no longer turn a blind eye to the issues in our own community that plague our people”.

The group told the public: “After much reading and discussion, we have decided, instead of boycotting stores weekly, we will uplift and promote black businesses for you to support.”

The boycott call was made at a rally of more than 7,000 people in support of the global Black Lives Matter movement on Sunday. Ms Brangman said older supporters appeared prepared for “something extreme”, but younger people seemed less familiar with a boycott.

She added: “We took that into consideration — we want to emphasise the voice of the people.”

Black Lives Bermuda said it had created an online petition for the public to make its voice heard on overpriced goods.

The organisers thanked the public for its “strong show of commitment” to demonstration, which police estimated had been the biggest turnout for an event in Bermuda in memory. The post also told the public: “We are a young, progressive organisation and welcome your comments and suggestions.”

Ms Bean said the group was “still decompressing” in the wake of the demonstration, which went ahead with no corporate sponsorship.

She added: “We received a lot of positive feedback.”

The group said it also planned to release a manifesto to further outline its aims. She said: “We tried to give young black people the opportunity to express themselves at the march. We're trying to keep the focus on the movement and we want to be authentic about it.”

The two said the boycott call was an attempt to lower prices, and was not related to racial problems.

They will issue further statements to outline the objectives of the movement. The group formed in the aftermath of mass protests in the US over the death of George Floyd.

On the frontline: Jasmine Brangman, left, and Dynera Bean, of Black Lives Bermuda, address the more than 7,000 people from St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church at the junction of Court Street and Victoria Street on Sunday (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)
Black Lives Bermuda leads a mass rally through Hamilton demanding racial justice (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published June 09, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated June 09, 2020 at 9:01 am)

Black Lives Bermuda makes boycott about-turn

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