from Bermuda, 1

Bermudians are up early and so am I.

This training has been nearly two years in the making. Someone from Bermuda heard about me, saw a video, and decided they wanted me to come here and speak to local potential organizers about how to move past critique and into action. I don’t really like to give speeches anymore, I much prefer popular education styles of learning with folks.

Four Bermudians came to a series of trainings I did in the Midwest to scout me and be sure. We got along marvelously there, and I was moved by their earnest desire to jumpstart the movement in Bermuda.

The political landscape here is unfolding for me more each minute. It’s still considered a property of the crown, we passed a massive portrait of the queen on our way through customs. It’s super densely populated – 3,000 people per square mile. The U.S. has something like 90 people per square mile. It’s a small island, we’ve already covered half of it just going from the airport to where we’re staying, and the grocery store, and a meeting in town. The town is Hamilton, a ferry boat ride, or curving bus/car ride away.

The population is majority black, with a lot of white Bermudians who are fierce lifelongers. Everyone black looks like me, like black + something else. The government is majority black, and apparently has grown very conservative over the years. The issues people are organizing around here are mostly space – how space gets developed, who gets to decide, and how to sustain this space for future generations of Bermudians, not just future generations of tourists.

Nearly everything is imported, including 80% of the fish (so as not to completely decimate the local fish and coral reef) and thus very expensive. I’m still trying to find out what Bermudian food and culture is like, and if it’s thriving at all amidst the expensive hotels and cottages and restaurants and primarily white tourist culture. I haven’t seen any indication of the poverty I would expect to come along with such population density yet. Our training begins tomorrow – today we have a television interview about the training, and get to check out the training site, meet with more of the organizers.

My co-trainer is Hannah Strange who used to work with me at Ruckus and is a total pleasure to plan and train with. The weather is expected to be rainy the entire time we’re here – it was sunny yesterday and we got to spend a half hour in it, leaving me with a diagonal tan line across my chest that just looks weird. But even with rain, I’m an island person, I feel much more comfortable surrounded on all sides by the ocean and always have. It gives me comfort. I am going to go look at that remarkable color of blue against morning clouds and morning sun before the day gets too hectic.