The mother of Ricco Furbert, who was murdered in 2013, used an anti-violence event on Saturday to plead for help from the community to intervene in the life of another young man who she believes could suffer the same fate.
Nicole Fox spoke at the Peace In Hamilton Anti-Violence Youth Development event, which was organised by Visionz magazine editor Desmond Crockwell.
After describing the pain and anguish she had endured, Ms Furbert spoke of the young man she feared for and, with tears in her eyes, said: “I need your help. I can’t reach him.”
Newly appointed gang violence reduction co-ordinator, Pastor Leroy Bean, was one of the evening’s speakers and took the chance during his speech to offer assistance.
Former inmates, family members of murder victims, educators and entertainers gathered at the event as a “network of support” for those at risk.
Former prisoner Andre Minors gave one of the most insightful talks of the evening when he explained how he had made some bad decisions in his life.
He said he came up on the “rough side of the mountain” and, despite a strong family life, began making the wrong choices. He was about 13 when he started hanging out on the streets with his friends, smoking marijuana and fighting, before one thing led to another and he was in prison for attempted murder.
Mr Minors implored those in the audience to “pay close attention to our young men at the age of 12 and 13 as that is when they begin to think that they are men, no longer want to listen to their parents and start to fall.
“Come out to them, listen to what they have to say, support them.”
As a show of hope to those caught up in crime, Mr Minors said he has gone 20 years “without so much as a traffic offence”.
But more importantly, he has dedicated a lot of that time to helping young people — buying a child lunch if they don’t have enough money, working with Family Centre and youth programmes to give back.
“Feel free to plug in,” he said.
Pastor Bean used his speech to note that the community as a whole needs to work in unison to stamp out the problem of violence. He explained that violent video games were major contributory factors to actual violence, and that faith in God is able to save those who are lost.
He spoke of an epidemic that has plagued Bermuda for generations as a result of economic disparity, racial inequality, disenfranchisement and bad influences within certain neighbourhoods.
He spoke of the “ostrich syndrome”, where people believe it is not their problem or they see their sons coming home with lots of money and may turn a blind eye to protect them or benefit from the proceeds of their crimes.
“It’s time to take our rightful place,” he said. “We won’t let our island be taken over by those who have not even invested in it yet.”
He drew similarities between healing the violence and addiction counselling through AA’s 12 step plan.
He said: “First you have to admit there is a problem and that there is a power greater than ourselves and that is God.”
The overriding message from Pastor JahKimo Smith was “invest in one person”. He recalled how he was the first in his family to graduate. He has a masters-level education, which he says would not have been possible had someone not put him under their wing and shown him the right direction.
While government, the church and school all play a role, he said, there is a lack of connection between our young people and their families.
To find out more about Visionz and future anti-violent events visit: visionzmagazine.com call 297-2018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org