Social Justice Bermuda ‘ready to get loud’

  • Passion for equality: Kristin White, of Social Justice Bermuda, at a protest outside the United States Consulate last week (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Passion for equality: Kristin White, of Social Justice Bermuda, at a protest outside the United States Consulate last week (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Campaigners will register their concern over the disappearance of a young mother as part of a march tomorrow.

Social Justice Bermuda, which has organised a walk from Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton in support of Black Lives Matter, will highlight the case of Chavelle Dillon-Burgess, who went missing in April.

A spokeswoman said: “We are angry about the disappearance of Chavelle Dillon-Burgess.”

She added: “As a member of the community wrote recently, ‘I have no comforting words, no sage advice, no pearls of wisdom to share with them that will keep them safe. Because there is no safety for black women and girls anywhere.’

“On Saturday we will #SayHerName and are asking our participants to come ready to donate funds to allow Crime Stoppers to increase the reward for information that will help us to bring justice to Chavelle and her family.”

Friends of Ms Dillon-Burgess, the mother of a toddler, have not heard from her since April 11. She was reported missing on April 30, about two weeks before her 27th birthday.

A 39-year-old man was arrested and police confirmed the investigation had evolved into a murder inquiry. The man was later released on bail.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said yesterday that police continued to investigate.

Social Justice Bermuda also unveiled its plans to push for education reform, economic equity and for reforms to the criminal justice system and better access to healthcare and food.

Organisers said: “We are ready to get loud.”

Members of the group include long-serving community activists such as Kristin White and Katura Horton-Perinchief, who have “a passion for equality and a desire to act boldly and radically”.

A spokeswoman said: “We want a new approach. The committees and boards and politics, they move too slowly and we want to see change in our lifetime; in our children’s lifetime.

“What we have witnessed in the global uprising is that the community has the power to create the direction they want, take action where they can, and pressure the gatekeepers to come along.”

The group vowed to lobby authorities and to work with “an empowered and engaged community”.

The spokeswoman said: “We are eager to connect with the researchers, experts and advocates who have worked tirelessly and have been met with stone walls and a lack of political will. It is time to join our voices together to demand and create change.

“We are ready to get loud, especially to amplify the excellence of Bermudians who have felt dismissed and diminished.”

Social Justice Bermuda also paid tribute to Black Lives Bermuda, led by Dynera Bean and Jasmine Brangman, who organised a march that attracted about 7,000 people last Sunday.

The spokeswoman said: “The turnout for their march on Sunday was historic and we are in awe of what the two young black women at the helm created. Our entire team was in the crowd.

“We led chants and offered support in other ways, while hopefully always ensuring that people knew the credit for this event should go to Black Lives Bermuda. Coming out of that transformational day, we felt even more inspired.”

The event tomorrow will also give people a chance to honour Bermuda heroes, two days before National Heroes Day.

The march will start at Barr’s Bay Park, the site of the Enterprise slave ship landing in 1835, at 4pm.

Ms White will tell the story of how the 78 enslaved people imprisoned on the ship were given the chance to live in freedom in Bermuda, where slavery had been abolished a year earlier by a British Act of Parliament.

Participants will walk to the When Voices Rise monument at City Hall, in honour of the Theatre Boycott that led to the island’s desegregation in 1959, and then to Cabinet to the memorial of Sally Bassett, who rebelled against her enslavement.

The spokeswoman said: “We hope to honour our ancestors and trailblazers, those who laid the path for black people’s empowerment that we are walking today.”

Melodye Micere Van Putten, a writer and teacher, will be among the speakers and the first 50 people to arrive at Barr’s Bay Park will receive a copy of The Experience of Racism in Bermuda and Its Wider Context, written by Eva Hodgson, who died aged 95 last month.

Donations to Crimestoppers can be made at “Chavelle Dillon-Burgess” should be included in the donation transfer information

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Published Jun 12, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 12, 2020 at 7:27 am)

Social Justice Bermuda ‘ready to get loud’

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