Future Leader Spotlight: Onuri Smith

August 28, 2019

This article is part 6 of an 8-part series featuring the experience of Bermuda’s Future Leaders at the Global Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Summer Program.

Onuri Smith:

“Remember that kindness is free and we are all human, regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum.”

Future Leader Onuri Smith Bermuda Aug 2019 (1)

Student Profile:

Onuri: My name is Onuri Smith, I am 16 years old and I attend Warwick Academy. I have been able to express my love for Community Service and activism by taking advantage of various opportunities such as The Future Leaders Programme, so being given an offer to apply to study at The Center for Global Youth Leadership in Action Programme only seemed like another great chance to harness my leadership skills, develop my passion, as well as meet new people from around the world in the process. In the future I hope to be involved with Musical Theatre and Performing Arts. Activism will also be a significant part of my future aspirations, because why not change the world?

Interviewer: What did you choose as your project idea, based on an issue you’re passionate about solving?

Onuri: For my project I started Spectrum, an organization with a mission to make change in Bermuda through; awareness, support advocacy opportunities, education and resources.

Future Leader Onuri Smith Bermuda Aug 2019 (2)

Interviewer: Why did you choose your particular project?

Onuri: Majority of LGBT youth don’t feel safe at school and they face a huge risk of verbal and physical abuse, homelessness, depression and even worse suicide. This is why spectrum is so important to not only me, but LGBT youth in Bermuda too.

Interviewer: Do you plan to implement your idea? If so, what are some possible challenges to implementation?

Onuri: I do plan to implement my ideas, as time allows based on each of my various initiatives to address LGBT inequality. I am hoping to introduce these ideas over the next two years. Possible challenges include closed minded individuals and out-dated conservative views on my topic. However, my passion to make Bermuda inclusive for all, will far surpass any oppression I may face along the way.

Future Leader Onuri Smith Bermuda Aug 2019 (4)

Interviewer: What was your overall experience at Brandon Hall School?

Onuri: The Brandon Hall experience was extremely diverse and offered a unique chance to meet new people from around the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to study Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at Brandon Hall School, as it allowed me to develop my passion for equality, as well as be provided the resources to make my project a success. I also valued the various speakers and workshops, which allowed us to network with other leaders and learn more about a variety of topics on a global scale. From newly formed friendships, to an intensive learning environment, without a doubt, the experience was invaluable.

Future Leader Onuri Smith Bermuda Aug 2019 (3)

Summary of Presentation:

7 in 10 Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender + queer youth hear homophobic remarks like d*ke and fa**ot EVERYDAY- not to mention the huge risk LGBTQ youth face including verbal and physical abuse, homelessness, depression, loneliness and even worse suicide. Did you know that they are up to 10x more likely to commit suicide?

Good Day, my name is Onuri Smith- the founder and creator of Spectrum. I am born and raised in Bermuda. My childhood in Bermuda thus far has been a tough one. From abuse in school, in public. As a gay teen fighting alone has been isolating and difficult, especially in a place that provides zero support for youth like me.

Which is why Spectrum is so important not only to me, but for LGBTQ youth in Bermuda. Spectrum will provide a platform of support, advocacy opportunities, education & resources. Through retreat programs, changes in school curriculum, community support groups, participation and invention of LGBTQ holidays and events, as well as social media hubs. Spectrum will be able to provide a home of empowerment & support, to enable inclusion in Bermuda.

This campaign will be made successful through primary research including climate surveys testing the current standards of inclusion for LGBTQ individuals, along with promotion and awareness of Spectrums fight for change in the form of info graphic t shirts. Together we can build a rainbow of hope for LGBT youth.

The full Project Spectrum follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (3)

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  1. Dwayne says:

    Congratulations on being you Cuzzie. I’m proud of you and I love your courage. Keep being strong. Love You To Life.

  2. Syl Hayward-Harris says:

    Impressive, young Onuri! The need for more, and more easily accessible support for LGBTQ youth has been raised before but has not yet come to full fruition. I hope that your plan, with community support will help to fill the gap. Never give up!

  3. Laura Bardgett says:

    Proud of you! You will succeed in anything and everything you set your passion on.