“WHERE THERE IS NO JUSTICE, THERE IS NO PEACE!” -Author Unknown
In December last year, my nephew, Vance Smith made a visit back home to Bermuda. I listened with intense interest as he shared his experiences with his family. I heard a quiet voice whisper, “You contributed to his success.” I was dumbfounded when it hit me like a ton of bricks.
For 40 years, I have been writing about freedom, justice and equality, for Dr Hodgson and myself. We are two black women, with PhD’s in Education and in spite of our skills, competencies, qualifications and abilities, we have never had a job in our native land.
Not only had I contributed to Vance’s success, but I had also contributed to the success of many adults and children in this country.
Vance L Smith, MD, MS, MBA, FACS, is the Assistant Professor of Surgery, Director of Acute Care Surgery, Director of Transition to Practice Program at Montefiore Medical Center, and The University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
There is no need for me to continue to fight for freedom, justice and equality. The children and adults whose lives I’ve touched will speak for me.
My time has come. 2018 will be one of my most miraculous, meaningful and marvelous years. I will re-launch my book, ‘Let Justice Flow – A Black Woman’s Struggle For Equality in Bermuda’.
My grandchildren were 2, 3, 4 and 5 when I launched the book in 1999. They are now 22, 23, 24 and 25. I realized that there is a whole population of people out there who do not know my story.
In August, I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of having received a doctorate from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
We will celebrate this occasion by having a reunion for the students, teachers, family and friends of PEAL (People Excited About Loving, Living and Learning). It was a Christian school of which I was the principal from 1983 to 1994.
On January 16, 2018, I wrote Mrs Kalmar Richards, the Acting Commissioner of Education. My mentor asked me what were my expectations of her for me. I said that her appointment was a very welcomed and refreshing change because we had a woman at the helm.
I said that my sincere and earnest prayer is that she would champion the cause of Dr Hodgson and myself. I also included a copy of my book in the package with specific instructions to read the preface written by Dr Eva Hodgson which can be rightly subtitled, ‘How Decision-Making Blacks Treat Other Blacks’. Follow this by reading Chapter 4 and pages 130-133. Then, you can read the rest of the book.
There has not been any response from Mrs Richards as yet. I know she got the package because I was driven to the Ministry of Education and hand-delivered the package to the receptionist.
On February 15th, 2018, I sent correspondence to the Rt Hon Boris Johnston, the Secretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. DHL informed me that the package was delivered on February 20th. This is not the first time that I have written the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
I have also corresponded with the Rt Hon Robin Cook, Rt Hon David Milliband, Rt Hon Jack Straw and Baroness Symons. My sincere and earnest prayer is that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will give as much attention and energy to the situation of Dr Hodgson and I, like they gave to the Same-Sex Marriage debate.
After I wrote this letter, it was as if a heavy load was lifted off me. I sang to the top of my voice: “I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE … IT’S GOING TO BE A BRIGHT SUN-SHINEY DAY!”
I TURNED THE CORNER!
My mentor said to me: “You’ve been out there long enough fighting by yourself. You need to marshall the army. There is nothing else for you to write. Gather the troops! Call upon parents, principals, teachers, students, stakeholders, retired educators, other retired people, business people and the rest of the community! It has to be a movement. It has to be a meeting of the minds of all the people who have the children of Bermuda’s best interests at heart. Are you the only one who wants quality education for Bermuda’s children?”
I decided to review what I had written for Bermuda Real over the past two years. Here are some topics:
- Dismantling the Ministry of Education
- For God’s Sake – Restructure the Ministry of Education
- School Closures or Racism?
- When Will We Get a Bermudian Commissioner?
- Why Isn’t There a Relevant, Identity Curriculum with Cultural Identity Infused With The African Content and the Bermuda Content?
- A Falsified Curriculum for Bermuda’s Children? Medicine or Poison?
- A Letter to Premier Michael Dunkley
- Parents Must Hold All Others Accountable
- Bermudians Had a Solution For Education 30 Years Ago
- A New Strategic Plan for Education
- Time for a Volcanic Eruption in Education
- Why Only Dr Freddie Evans? Part 1 & 2
- Fire the PS! Break the Culture of Silence Curse
My mentor was right. Stop the talking! Stop the writing! Have some Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable, Time-bound Goals to Fix Bermuda’s Education System for our children. Black people have never had the opportunity to choose the type of education that they want for their children.
QUALITY EDUCATION FOR BERMUDA’S CHILDREN – MY WISH LIST – WHAT’S YOURS?
- Establish a National Education Authority (Like the Bermuda Tourism Authority)
- Restructure the Ministry of Education. The foundation is racist and designed against black children. All positions in the Ministry of Education should be declared vacant. Only persons with a PhD, or EdD, with needed expertise should be eligible to apply
- School Boards for all public schools
- A Christian School – Involvement of Churches
- A relevant, identity curriculum with cultural integrity infused with the African content and the Bermuda content
- Purposeful Transformation of Principals and Teachers
- Family Involvement in Schools
- Seniors as Mentors Too
- Volunteers in Public Schools
- Bermudian writers to prepare materials for schools – books and other media sources
- Businesses as Partners – Adopt a School
- Involvement of Clubs
Add your suggestions to the list and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 236-3593.
Born to Win – Born to Teach!