Crime

Community comes together for peace march

  • For a good cause: people walk the streets of Hamilton to raise awareness on Bermuda’s gang violence (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • Making a point: one of the people affected by gang violence holds her sign during the group peace march (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

People who have lost loved ones to gun violence vowed to unite the community to restore peace.

Dozens of people took part in a peace walk through neighbourhoods hurt by gun troubles on Saturday — and announced this was just the start of their efforts to heal Bermuda.

They carried placards with messages such as “Tired”, “Hurt” and “You took my son — why?” as they marched in silence along Parsons Road, through Deepdale, Happy Valley, Court Street, Middle Town and Friswells Hill.

Ceble Crockwell, whose brother, 30-year-old cricketer Fiqre Crockwell, was shot and killed in 2016, described the turnout as “overwhelming”.

Ms Crockwell said: “The community gets it. We need to come together as the community, and just support each other.

“Ethnicity, age, gender — none of that matters. This could effect anyone’s family.”

She said while tragedy had brought herself, Nicole Fox and Ebonie Cox together in Mom Bermuda, they were focused on trying to create positives in the community.

Ms Crockwell said the event was also to show others impacted by violence in the community that support was available.

She added that a lot of other families were “suffering in silence”.

Ms Crockwell said: “This is just something to remind them that they are definitely not alone.

“They need to know that we are here.”

Ms Cox, whose brother Stefan Burgess, 24, was murdered in a shooting on Glebe Road, Pembroke, said that the walk was an outlet to express frustration.

She explained: “We’re done talking. Enough is enough. We’re coming out just to make an example.

“We’re doing something and this is just the start.

“My niece is watching — I just feel like I have to do my part, so she knows that she’s not alone.”

Ms Fox said the march was motivated by feelings of pain, fatigue and brokenness.

She added: “They come in all different forms. Everyone feels it differently.

“We just want to heal, and each time someone else is shot, our wounds are opened back up again.

“If we can’t heal, how can we expect our boys to?”

Her 22-year-old son was wounded in one of the gun attacks last month.

Another son, 25-year-old Ricco Furbert, was killed in a double murder in Belvin’s Variety store on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, in 2013.

Ms Cox said the turnout for the march showed that gun violence impacted the entire community.

She explained: “It’s a we problem, not an us problem.

“It’s not just us — it’s not people of colour, it’s not poor people.

“It’s a Bermuda problem. It’s a community issue.”

Grae Minors took part to support Ms Cox, his cousin.

The 28-year-old added: “We lost a family member, her brother, to gun violence a few years back.

“The cause really hits home.”

The Warwick resident said the event showed that community members cared and that grassroots initiatives had the power to “spark larger change”.

Mr Minors encourage people interested in being part of change to get involved.

He said: “Do anything you can to help.”

Nadia Khan said that she had also felt first hand the impact of gun violence.

The 36-year-old explained: “I lost a cousin and a close friend.

“It’s not something that you forget or you get over, no matter how long it’s been.

“These are people that were a big part of my life, and they’re not here.”

The Smith’s resident added that each new incident of gun violence opened old wounds.

She said that the community had to find a way to reach its younger members.

Ms Khan added: “It’s a problem that definitely needs to be solved. I’m not sure what the answer is, but it’s not something that’s going to be solved by just one person, or one group, or one political party.

“It’s going to take the community to work together.”

Another march participant said that he was out to support organiser Ms Cox.

The 37-year-old Devonshire resident, who asked not to be named, added that the event had served as a reminder about how many community members had been impacted by violence.

He said the “diverse” turnout for the event was a “good start”.

The man added: “You’re not going to get the whole community out the first time, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“You have to make a dent before you make a hole.”

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, said that walk was an “essential event”.

He explained; “The real solution around gang violence is so complex — but the biggest single opportunity is about communities working together.

“It’s an issue if we work hard I think we can really achieve things.”

Referencing that there had been zero gun deaths last year, Mr Corbishley added: “Last year, we didn’t lose anybody, and I’d like 2020 to be exactly the same.”