National heroes at heart of social justice march

  • Special march: similar to last Sunday, there will be a Black Lives Matter march today designed to highlight the island’s freedom fighters of the past (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Special march: similar to last Sunday, there will be a Black Lives Matter march today designed to highlight the island’s freedom fighters of the past (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermudians will take to the streets this Bermuda Heroes Weekend — but in a new kind of way.

The traditional Bermuda Carnival was cancelled over Covid-19 fears, but the weekend will be marked with a Black Lives Matter march designed to highlight the island’s freedom fighters of the past.

Social Justice Bermuda, which organised the march, said proceedings will start at Barr’s Bay Park at 3.30pm today.

Glenn Fubler, of community group Imagine Bermuda, said National Heroes Day was an ideal time to celebrate people who fought against enslavement and segregation because the holiday will fall on June 15 — the 61st anniversary of the start of the Theatre Boycott.

Mr Fubler said: “That heroic campaign in 1959 provided Bermuda with a ‘breath of fresh air’.

“The two weeks of civic action by ordinary people produced extraordinary results, producing a key watershed in the transformation of our island’s formal institutionalised racism.”

He added: “Our community’s reconnection with iconic transformational touchstones such as the Theatre Boycott reminds us all that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

“In truly appreciating that perspective, we can be mindful of accessing the big picture.”

Mr Fubler said Imagine Bermuda would be involved in the march and retell the story of the Theatre Boycott.

He said: “In observing this holiday weekend, as we enjoy a time of recreation, please access the courage to include some reflection on our individual and collective fears.

“This offers a time to recognise the hero in ourselves and in all others.”

Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Community Affairs and Sport, said that the coronavirus pandemic meant the island could not celebrate the holiday as it had in the past.

But she added: “This is not to say that National Heroes Day should not be celebrated.

“Now, more than ever, it is time for us to revel in national pride, celebrate Bermudian excellence, rediscover Bermudian resilience and remember all that makes us a people of great strength and determination.”

She said her ministry had created a series of online video tributes to commemorate the contributions of National Heroes.

Ms Foggo added: “This is meant to inspire us on our special day by offering new and different views on the legacy of our countrymen and women.

“Although each hero is very different in terms of their spheres of influence, each of their stories is a part of Bermuda’s tapestry and that tapestry is a national story that we can mine for strength, wisdom and inspiration.”

The video tributes, several of which were published on the community and cultural affairs website yesterday, feature a variety of presenters, including Juanae Crockwell, Christie Hunter Arscott, Thea Furbert, Chris Faria, Yusef Bushara, Liana Hall, John Barritt and Theodore Francis.

The Government said that all beaches, parks and nature reserves will be closed between 8pm and 5am over the weekend and there will be no bonfire or special permits.

The public was also warned that there will be no lifeguards on duty at public beaches, although St John Ambulance will be stationed at Horseshoe Bay, Southampton, and Southside, St David’s, in case medical attention was needed.

Social-distancing and hygiene policies will also remain in force.

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Published Jun 13, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 13, 2020 at 6:47 am)

National heroes at heart of social justice march

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