[Updated] Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda today announced the launch of “truth and reconciliation community conversations” beginning in February 2017.
“Trained mediators will facilitate the multiple group sessions of up to 20 participants who will stay together for a series of conversations over a period of three months,” CURB said
“CURB will provide guideline topics for each meeting, as well as resources that can be shared with groups in advance prior to the gathering.
“It is envisioned these groups will forge relationships, build community and find ways to create change within their own sphere of influence, and then share with the greater community,” said CURB president Lynne Winfield.
“Most importantly, we will look for the groups to build upon and develop additional ideas and actions to bring about social change, healing and greater racial justice and equity in our society.”
CURB said, “At the end of the 3-months, the groups will meet as one to consolidate their ideas. Additional groups will be formed later in the year and the process will begin again. Members of the public are asked to register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 505 0112.
“The small group meetings will take place in East, West and central locations around the island. We are currently seeking meeting spaces and will be reaching out to the community to provide locations. We are grateful to the Human Rights Commission for their expression of support for this valuable initiative.
“Over the past few months, CURB has reached out to the community to find facilitators, mediators and skilled individuals who would be willing to facilitate the truth and reconciliation meetings and are grateful to the following individuals who have volunteered their services: Caitlin Conyers, Gwendolyn Creary, Frances Eddy, Hashim Estwick, Cordell Riley, Michelle Scott, Jodi Virgil, Stacey Lee Williams, and Lynne Winfield.
12-minute live video replay of today’s CURB Press Conference:
Ms. Winfield said that the “small group dialogues will be skillfully facilitated to achieve greater empathy and understanding.”
“Confronting something does not mean it has to be confrontational. Participants will be able to speak about their experiences in a supportive environment,” Ms. Winfield said.
“Telling one’s stories is cathartic for those who have been traumatized, and listening to other people’s stories leads to greater empathy and understanding. It allows our humanity to come through and the empathy created, displaces cynicism and distrust.”
“Ms. Winfield added: “Help create the change you want by becoming actively involved to create a racially equitable and socially just Bermuda that our children will be proud to inherit.”
Update 6.09pm: Opposition Leader David Burt said, “For some time now CURB has been at the forefront of expressing what should be our collective desire for racial justice in Bermuda.
“Their truth and reconciliation project announced today is a further and critically important step along this path and has the real potential to help Bermuda heal itself. Issues relating to race remain relevant in Bermuda and we must address them if we are to make true progress in our society.
“On behalf of the PLP, I commend CURB on this new initiative and their ongoing work in helping Bermuda understand the continuing challenges our society faces as the result of racism. The PLP gives its full support and we encourage the Bermuda community to participate this vitally important project.”
CURB’s press statement is below [PDF here]