Noting that Bermudians unite and prepare for hurricanes, Executive Director of The Family Centre Martha Dismont said we “must unite with the same urgency to face the hurricane of violence that we are seeing…”
The last month has seen at least four firearm incidents, resulting in three young men being killed and one being injured.
Ms Dismont said: “Family Centre extends its deepest sympathy to the families involved in these latest tragedies.We work with families everyday who have experienced some level of trauma, or untoward event in their lives.
“We are no strangers to these occurrences; however, it doesn’t make it any easier to do this work. The increase in these occurrences tells us that there truly is a sense of urgency to unveil what has caused so much pain on this island. When we stop the ‘hurting’, the violence will stop.”
She further commented, “We know that we cannot throw money at this situation, nor pretend that it will go away tomorrow. If we heard that a powerful hurricane was about to hit our island, we would prepare. We would ignore the barriers that separate us and come together. We would work together to prepare for, and battle the storm as one.
“We must unite with the same urgency to face the hurricane of violence that we are seeing again swell throughout the community of our disenfranchised community. Unfortunately, we are reaping what has been sown over many decades.
“There is no short cut to nurturing young people as they grow. We must double or triple the investment of our time, support, and care for this generation of young ones, and for anyone who is feeling left out if we want to reverse this pattern of pain.”
She continued: “The thing that protects children from destructive influences like drugs, crime, gangs, and violence is love and the positive attention of nurturing adults in their lives.
“When these are lacking, they gamble it all because they believe they have nothing to lose. When a young person values the meaningful relationships that they have with family, teachers and neighbors, they have something priceless to lose and they will protect it fiercely. Are we ready, as a community to, again, consider these immediate steps?
1. Prove that we care about young people and their nurturance by focusing our energy, dollars and resources on collaborative, genuine youth initiatives and interventions
2. Find out what families and individuals need to take better care of their children and invest in efforts to provide that support to them. We are void of a proper social safety net in this community, and we need to find a way to invest in ensuring that no one is truly left behind.
3. Fix the systems in the community that are contributing to low self esteem, and disconnection with society so that we are not providing resources on one end and tearing down those supportive structures in another environment, i.e. schools, employers and businesses, organizations that are set up to help and turn out to be at best, judgmental, programmes that do more damage than good.
4. Allow Bermudian resources and assets to be the answer to our challenges, rather than the challenge itself.
She concluded by saying; “In our Island home, the difference between those children who do well and those children who do not is usually determined by the amount of sincere care, time, and relationship that they have at home and with family.
“This is the anchor that they rely on as they make choices in school, with friends, and then as they branch out into the community and onto the roads as young adults.
“Our message is that all solutions to our social problems must start with compassion for the unmet needs of our young and the adults around them. This is a responsibility that each of us must consider and then dig deep to practice.”