‘Walk Through History’ Event On May 1

April 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

A lunchtime ‘Walk Through History’ will take place on May 1 at Victoria Park, retracing the pivotal events of May 1, 1981, during the General Strike.

A spokesperson said, “Wednesday, May 1st, there will be a lunchtime ‘Walk Through History’ starting at Victoria Park at noon. This 45 minute procession, will follow footsteps made more than four decades ago on May 1, 1981 during a most pivotal episode during the largest crisis in 20th century.

“The walk will provide residents a brief opportunity to draw lessons from that turning point during the iconic 1981 General Strike. It will also provide an occasion to honour Canon Thomas Nisbett, Rev Larry Lowe and Police Sgt Campbell Simons; three deceased humble men who acted outside of the box, which was key in shifting the potential for violence, into circumstances facilitating the peaceful resolution of that major labour dispute.

“The two clergy went beyond their pulpits to serve as co-chairs for the Strikers’ Family Support Committee, which was set up by the grassroots Bermuda Workers Socialist Party [BWSP]. The broader community responded in a spirit of solidarity, donating $7,000, along with cases of groceries at St Paul’s AME Hall. That church hosted lunchtime peace vigils, lead by Lowe and Nisbett, easing rising tensions resulting from the conflict.

“The Regiment had been called up and Police Reserves mobilized – the first time since the most violent of circumstances of the Hangings back in Dec 1977.

Walk Through History Event Victoria Park Bermuda April 2024

“There was a grassroots initiative to pivot from the scenarios such as picketing at the airport to a peace procession in Hamilton on May 1st, the International Workers’ Day. The BUT held a meeting on April 30th to consider a one day strike on that option for May 1st, but the members declined for the time.

“That said, a few activists continued to hold that hope. On the morning of May 1st, 1981, the Telco Division of the BIU walked off the job in solidarity of the striking hospital and government BIU workers. They had been served with an injunction from the Supreme Court warning them against any withdrawal of labour. The 200 members went to Victoria Park to reflect on the circumstances for a short while and decided to walk to the BIU HQ.

“The few activists, holding hope, met the 200 Telco BIU members at Union Square where their President Victor Fishinton, discussed the vision for a peaceful march with Glenn Fubler of BWSP. The BTC members agreed to proceed with the idea of a peace procession in solidarity with the BIU, through Hamilton, and this through serendipity led Police Sgt Campbell Simons to guide it.

“Sgt Simons acted out of the box. Rather than react from his formal policemen, he responded with the common sense of his humanity. Rather than raise the matter of authorization, he seamlessly provided the facilitation of the initial 200 people, which quickly doubled, thus navigating the festive crowd to minimize traffic difficulties. The result of the peaceful procession was a considerable lowering of tension across the island.

“The community is invited to join in this ‘Walk Through History’ on the first day of Heritage Month and reaffirm the best aspects of our shared legacy, as embodied in the three exemplars we honour, and sustain the spirit of fostering mutual reverence for each other and promote the goal of peace and justice.

“[Organizations Supporting the ‘Walk’ include Bermuda Is Love, Chewstick, CURB, Imagine Bermuda, Social Justice Bermuda.]“

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