To recognize the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, local community activist group Imagine Bermuda has written an open letter to the people of Bermuda.

In it they are asking people to “reflect on reconciliation” and, in the words of Bob Marley “emancipate yourself from mental slavery”.

The letter reads: “The Law Emancipating those enslaved in British Colonies on August 1, 1834 removed shackles from 3,700 of our ancestors in Bermuda.

“But there has been no more of a challenging circumstance than the legacy of slavery, leaving fissures of conflict and division in affected societies.”

The letter goes on to suggest that community divisions still exist today and that symptoms of this include a recent increase in gun violence on the island as well as a heightened level of anger expressed from Parliament to our sports clubs.

Imagine Bermuda suggests that one way that division and conflict can be addressed consciously is through reconciliation.

“As August begins with the anniversary of Emancipation which is a traditional time for vacations and family reunions, it offers us an opportunity for our community to reflect on the potential reconciliation it may offer us,” said the letter. “We will be networking in order to explore the potential of reconciliation over the month of August as a way of addressing this community challenge.”

There are nine personalities offering support for the initiative, symbolic of our nine parishes (they are not necessarily representing their organizations: Reginald Burrows, former MP; Wendy Davis-Johnson; Shervin Dill, president of the North Village Community Club; Martha Dismont of The Family Centre; Rev. Betty Furbert, Presiding Elder of the AME churches; Dr. Michael Radford, Medical Director, Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute; Gavin Smith, CEO of Chewstick Foundation; Gina Spence and Bishop Patrick White, head of the Anglican Community.