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Campers capture Bermuda life through a lens

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Photograph by Meagan Johnston

Campers from the Youth Camera Action photography summer programme and Dany Pen, education and communication officer for the Bermuda National Gallery, joined us at The Royal Gazette for a tour of the press last week. Lilly DeCouto, 13, said that “the BNG Camp is a photography camp that takes you all around Bermuda to take photos of all sorts of things”. Last week the campers became activists and chose social issues to focus on for the week. They had to pick a social issue of their choice, write a letter to The Royal Gazette about it and take a related photo. Here are their efforts.

• Shane A.S. White, 13, Somersfield Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Shane A.S. White and the social issue that I have chosen is, ‘racial discrimination/equality’. During my research, I found that approximately 90 per cent of the people that I interviewed had been, or known someone who had been, racially discriminated. I chose this issue because of how it affects me and how my parents tell me that I have to be better and achieve more than most because I am a young black male. My solution to this ongoing issue is to get children to learn about equality/unity younger, then maybe racial discrimination could turn into racial unity.

• Lilly DeCouto, 13, Warwick Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My social issue is animal cruelty. More than one million animals are abused each year. I chose this topic because of my love for animals. This is a topic I feel very strongly about. I watch many vets and animal rescue shows such as ‘Pit bulls and Parolees’. I love pit bulls and I don’t think it’s fair that they can’t be pets in Bermuda anymore. My vision is seeing all animals in a safe and happy home.

“Animals are companions not decorations.”

• Meagan Johnston, 11, Warwick Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

Defining the concept of human rights is harder than you think. One of the topics that fall under the category of human rights is gender equality. I chose this topic because I found it disturbing how women are mistreated all around the world. Being a girl, I can see how easily things like this happen and it makes me very self-conscious and upset. I plan to help young women find a voice when they are in bad situations. We need to educate girls and boys about this. If girls stand up for their rights they’ll be a role model for all girls.

• Taya Simons, 11, Warwick Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Taya Simons. This week we are learning about social issues the topic I chose was the environment and I am focusing on littering. I chose this topic because I think the world has a littering problem, not so much Bermuda, but I think Bermuda can be way cleaner. I think the only reason people litter is because of other people’s actions. I hope people feel the same way I do about littering because to me it’s a big problem.

• Ashley Soares, 13, Mount Saint Agnes Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Ashley Soares and the social issue I have chosen is animal welfare. I am focusing on pit bulls in Bermuda. In fact, in my opinion, most people think pit bulls deserve to be treated the same way as other dogs. I chose this issue because I love any animal I come in touch with. My friend wanted to adopt a pit bull from the SPCA but there were certain rules they had to follow before they could adopt it. My solution to this issue is to create awareness about pit bulls and how they’re being treated.

• Tiara Simons, 13, Warwick Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Tiara Simons and I go to school at Warwick Academy. This week our camp, at the Bermuda National Gallery, we focused on the topic of the environment, specifically about pollution in the ocean and how it can endanger wildlife/sealife. When I took a survey at Washington Mall, the majority of the public wanted to do something about it. I chose this topic because I wanted to make Bermuda cleaner and because I have found a lot of pollution in the water that can harm fish and turtles. As a solution, I hope that Bermuda stops littering so that waste does not end up in our oceans.

• Mayah Williams, 11, Mount Saint Agnes Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Mayah Williams and my social issue is animal cruelty. More than 50 per cent of fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats often bleed to death and skinned alive for and fur. Chinese fur is often mislabelled, so if you wear any fur there’s no sure way of knowing whose skin you’re in. I chose this topic because a lot of animals are getting mistreated and I think it is wrong. My vision for my issue is anyone who has abused an animal should go to jail for two years and maybe it will lower the percentage of abused animals in the world.

• Mia Currin, 13, Warwick Academy

Dear Royal Gazette,

My social issue that I chose for this week is freedom of speech. Seventy per cent of Americans agreed that people should have the right to speak freely even if their words are highly offensive. I chose this topic because I feel that tonnes of heroes have spoken their mind so that we can have a better tomorrow, even though they are putting their entire life on the line. I hope to use every opportunity I have to change this. I want 70 per cent to be 95 per cent and higher because I know this will be tough. But we can only try, Just like Martin Luther King Jr with his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech or even Malala who stood up against the Taliban so that young girls can have an education, yet getting shot in the head never stopped her from opening her own school.

• Nkosi Edwards, 13, Sandys Secondary Middle School

Dear Royal Gazette,

My name is Nkosi Edwards and my social issue is overfishing. When people overfish with large, heavy nets that weigh several tonnes, dragging to the deep depths of the sea destroys millions of fragile sponges and coral. The worst part is it simply killed 90 per cent of our top apex predators like marlin and blue fin tuna, which keeps the underwater food chain balanced.

A lot of people support overfishing without thinking about what it does to our oceans. My vision is to simply educate the government and the people all around the world [so they] know what is happening to our oceans and let the police protect and help fish to reproduce.

Photograph by Tiara Simons
Photograph by Shane A.S. White
Photograph by Taya Simons
Photograph by Mia Currin
Photograph by Nkosi Edwards
Photograph by Lilly DeCouto
Photograph by Mayah Williams