Bermuda Solidarity with BLM & Rejection of Rizzuto Appointment as US Consul General.

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Bermuda Solidarity with BLM & Rejection of Rizzuto Appointment as US Consul General.

This petition had 94,191 supporters

Bermuda Rejects Rizzuto

Bermuda is a small 21 square mile rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Often we watch the world, especially our closest neighbour America — 800 miles away, and stay silent, lest we upset the perceived superpowers and the business stops coming.

But today we stand with Black people from across the diaspora who are rising up to fight injustice, police brutality and white supremacy. We join the global call for the arrests of the murderers of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and the countless other Black, Brown and Indigenous people who have suffered by the hands of those who were sworn to protect them. We call for the abolition of a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets Black people. In Bermuda, this manifests as our jails being filled with Black people, many jailed for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. We call for a full review with a goal to implementation of the 2019 Racial Justice Platform created by the Citizens for Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, including:

1. Introduction of Restorative Justice into the Criminal Justice System
2. Review of the Criminal Justice System
3. Legalization of Cannabis
4. The introduction and/or expansion of Black Studies curriculum in all schools and the Bermuda College

In discussing these, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the tireless advocacy of Dr. Eva Hodgson, whose body left this plane three days ago, but whose legacy of social justice lives on. We hope to honor her with this movement.

In addition to adding our voices to this critical issue, we want to alert the international media to our displeasure that America’s president has appointed one of his cronies and donors, a fellow liar and conspiracy theorist to the role of Bermuda’s US Consul General. Lee Rizzuto Jr. had his Barbados Ambassadorship blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate because he was deemed unfit and yet he will now be foisted upon Bermuda.

The State Department press release regarding his appointment says that he will ‘lead a team whose mission is to protect U.S. citizens in Bermuda and deepen the strong economic and cultural ties between the United States and Bermuda,’ but we have serious doubts about his ability in this regard.

There are a large number of Bermudians with dual citizenship, holding American passports and having significant amount of friends and family living in the United States. We also have hundreds of Bermudian students who invest their tuition dollars into American colleges and universities. We do not believe that they will all be well-served by Rizzuto, considering his social media posts that his fellow Republicans said were full of ‘salacious conspiracy theories and cuckoo allegations’ He had to be reminded that, ‘People who want to serve Americans as diplomats and spokespeople abroad should know that words and truth matter.’

We received this news on the eve of Bermuda Day, a holiday created to help unify the island after racial tensions led to a rebellion similar to what we see across the ocean. Already, with the announcement of Rizzuto, Bermuda resident supporters of President Trump have been emboldened to spout his hateful rhetoric. We are deeply concerned that if Rizzuto arrives, it will only get worse.

In 1616, Bermuda became the first English colony to be part of the Translantic slave trade, and we live with the vestiges of this 400 year old history, a history rooted in colonialism, segregation, and unequal access to opportunity. Extreme wealth disparity means Bermuda is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. A lack of 4-year university means only those with the economic means to leave the island are able to do so, yet employers require a university degree. In both tourism and international business, Black Bermudians are routinely overlooked as immigration practices allow white Americans and Europeans to be hired above us. White Bermudians sit quietly, many resting on a wealth created by our Black ancestors.

We grapple with these issues every day — so are not interested in increasing and empowering the number of racists who call this island home. And we especially do not want to place one in a position of power.

As a group of concerned citizens, we stand in the legacy of Sally Bassett, an enslaved woman who rose up in rebellion against her oppressors

Of Mary Prince, Bermudian abolitionist and author whose literary activism inspires us to speak truth to power.

Of Ajax and Mentor, the fearless Gombeys who knew rebellion and masquerade and freedom.

Of members of The Progressive Group and The Black Beret Cadre who were ostracized, reviled, and exiled for daring to fight for Black Bermudian equality.

These brave Bermudians and others unnamed and unknown helped to shape the island home we love today, but of course, there is more to do in their honour.

We invite you to mobilise with us in solidarity with those around the world who march against fascism, police brutality and white supremacy. Bermuda takes action to let the world know that our 21 Square miles has no more space for racists and we reject Rizzuto.

Today: Social Justice is counting on you

Social Justice BDA needs your help with “We call on the Governor to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, to reform the criminal justice system, to fully review and implement CURB's 2019 Racial Justice Platform & to #RejectRizzuto as US Consul General. #ICantBreatheBDA”. Join Social Justice and 94,190 supporters today.