Perhaps this is an opportunity for real change

  • My friend Chris Gibbons and his wife, Tracey, stood with a kaleidoscope of humanity on Sunday seeking true equality

    My friend Chris Gibbons and his wife, Tracey, stood with a kaleidoscope of humanity on Sunday seeking true equality


When I first received the flyer for the Black Lives Matter march/protest in Bermuda last Sunday, I honestly did not think much of it.

Why?

Well, frankly as a black man, who has been to many marches and protests, not much has changed for the better for black people in Bermuda or anywhere in the world.

So, really, what is one more march in Bermuda going to do?

Perhaps I was wrong.

Momentum

In the days before the march, it seems this event had gained momentum among many from all walks of life: • Young

• Not so young

• Black

• Not so black

Was it because it was trending globally?

Or was it because people are ready to see fundamental change to systematic racism in Bermuda and the wider world?

Only those who attended could honestly answer that question for themselves.

Well, according to the Bermuda Police Service, more than 7,000 persons turned up for one of the most historic events in Bermuda’s history. There has never been a time that we have seen persons of all colours, all nationalities, all genders and I suspect all Cup Match affiliations gathered for racial justice.

Any Bermudian attending or viewing via social media would have had to pause and shed a tear to see this kaleidoscope of humanity gathered for an occasion such as that.

That in itself is historic.

I suspect many would have been protesting racism openly for the first time in their lives.

For others, this will have been be the umpteenth time that they have stood on the front lines.

A time for honesty

Fortunately, we do not have the level of police brutality as seen in other parts of the world. However, we have something so ingrained in our culture, customs and mindsets that we do not even realise is just as destructive to black Bermudians.

It is, perhaps, an opportunity for us a country to be honest about the wide range of longstanding, structural racism that we live with in Bermuda — knowingly or unknowingly:

• Unfair job hiring practices

• Unequal real estate values between black and white homeowners

• Unequal pay scales between blacks and whites

• Unequal job promotion opportunities

• Unequal access to credit to start businesses

So, to those that are now waking up to these realities, we say give thanks to the organisers and all those who turned up.

The late Eva Hodgson, PhD, OBE, surely cried tears from heaven, both before and after the gathering.

True equality

There are many whites and blacks and all other shades who had never publicly protested against racism but turned up on Sunday. Please know the fight for racial equality goes on long after the march and impassioned speeches are over.

No government in the world can legislate away racism.

True equality starts in the classrooms, in the boardrooms, in the realtors’ offices, in human resources offices and in our homes.

Most of all, true racial equality starts in our hearts.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published Jun 12, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 12, 2020 at 8:10 am)

Perhaps this is an opportunity for real change

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