Raleigh Alumni Panel Discussion On Oct 29

October 21, 2020

Raleigh alumni Kristamaria Looby will lead an upcoming panel discussion entitled ‘Building A Better Mental Health System In Bermuda’ on Thursday, October 29 at 8.00pm on Zoom.

A spokesperson said, “Raleigh alumni Kristamaria Looby is 25-years-old and is a young black Bermudian woman on a mission to initiate important conversations and with a goal to see change happen.”

Raleigh Kristamaria Looby Bermuda Oct 2020

Ms Looby said, “In 2014, I decided that it was time for me to do something significant in my life, at least through my eyes. It was one of the best decisions I ever made as a young adult.

“I first heard of Raleigh during my years as a teenager at the Berkeley Institute. I always found it to be an amazing opportunity but couldn’t find the nerve to step outside of my comfort zone and commit myself to change just yet.

“I went to Tanzania as a Raleigh volunteer in 2015, and I can say I’ve learned a decent amount about the world, diversity, our privileges as individuals, and more importantly, family, friendship, and community.”

The spokesperson said, “Raleigh Bermuda began hosting Social Circles for alumni ages 18-35 years old to provide a safe space at our office where young people could share their concerns and speak to social issues in the country without feeling judges and criticized.”

Raleigh Programme Coordinator Keri Pacheco says of the Social Circle Programme, “It has long been Raleigh’s vision to empower alumni to step into leadership roles and spearhead change.

“To come together and create a safe space where sharing and exploring new ideas is encouraged and to create a community of active citizens dedicated to improving the quality of life for all.

“As an alumni, I am grateful for the continued coaching and exposure to different social issues locally and internationally that Raleigh provides.

“Stepping into my leadership role as Programme Coordinator I am motivated to continue the legacy of uplifting my brothers and sisters and mentoring them to step into the leadership roles they are destined for.

“Building on our monthly alumni reconnects, we are now able to provide our alumni the platform to voice their thoughts, open up tough conversations and promote awareness and change on topics that inspire and interest them.

“I am so proud to see our young people step up to the challenge of advocacy, leading difficult conversations and I look forward to all the great things they will accomplish.”

The spokesperson said, “When Covid-19 began, Raleigh transitioned their Social Circle to online zoom where young Bermudians were able to speak about their struggles and stressors during lock down.”

Raleigh Alumni Panel Discussion Bermuda Oct 2020

Raleigh Executive Dany Pen said, “During quarantine, the demand for our services more than tripled. We had our alumni, ranging from ages 17-35 years old, calling us all throughout the day and night in need of a listening ear.

“We had alumni in Bermuda and also abroad in England, Canada and the United States calling in, needing support emotionally and mentally. We were also able to make referral services to other local agencies to further help with their needs. We had young people who had lost their jobs, had no food, found themselves stranded abroad, on lock down on their own, or stuck in spaces with abusive partners.

“We also had young people who were struggling with depression, drugs, alcohol, and who were even suicidal.

“We began hosting online support groups for our alumni and having important discussions, which also included various social topics and the impact it had on our lives. From those conversations, our alumni felt the need to expand and address those topics to the wider community.”

Ms Looby said, “I spend too much time watching the news and keeping up with current events. As an adult with very little free time, I found that being involved in our panel discussions that circulate around young people’s concerns and opinions about our current world problems was a great opportunity to give back to the charity that has given me so much.

“I also feel it’s critical to have open discussions about issues that greatly affect our community, country and our own mentalities. After the tragic death of George Floyd, BLM had quickly spread throughout the world in resistance to an oppressive system that targets black people, to be treated as criminals, are given unfair trials, or worse no trials at all and to be shot or suffocated on site.

“As a black woman, of course it hurts deeply seeing this over and over. I took part of the discussion to voice my own concerns and sadness. Hypermasculinity was another touchy topic that not many want to talk about. And that’s exactly why we had the discussion.

“I feel people are so conditioned to live the way they do, even if it’s a life where certain groups are dehumanized or mistreated either we be black or women, and as young people our feelings are so fresh on the subjects as we become more and more aware of it in our daily lives. We need an outlet to voice our concerns with each other and the previous and next generations.”

The spokesperson said, “Executive Director Dany Pen was so moved by Kristamaria’s passion for speaking out about important issues in Bermuda, she asked of Kristamaria if she would take on the role as a leading alumni for the panel discussions, in which Kristamaria happily accepted.”

Ms Looby said, “I’m choosing to lead our panel discussions because I feel it’s extremely critical to initiate these conversations in order for change to happen. It’s a responsibility I’m willing to take and make time for in order to give young people a voice that will be heard.

“When I hear my peers and members of the community speak about these topics they’re passionate about, it gives me a sense of hope, also a sense of peace knowing that these young people have found a safe space where they can let their thoughts be known without judgement, and that together we can form solutions to these century old issues, even if it starts out as little steps.

“Our next topics to be discussed will be mental health, and domestic violence, both topics unfortunately a lot of us have very intimate knowledge of, but we can come together in a space of trust and let our feelings be known.”

The spokesperson said, “Raleigh Bermuda Alumni has so far hosted Community Panel Discussion on the topics of Black Lives Matter, Rape Culture in Bermuda and Hyper-Masculinity.

“Please join them in our next upcoming panel discussion on “Building a Better Mental Health System in Bermuda” on Thursday, October 29 at 8:00PM on Zoom. Please see event flyer for details.

“To contact Raleigh Bermuda, please email info@raleigh.bm or call 333-5678.”

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