Its been a long time since my blog announcing the intentions of the project we called “One Big Community – 1bc” – Much water has passed under the proverbial bridge, Had the great privilege of working with some wonderful young people. They pulled together huge events – Trended number 1 in the UK when launching with one of the biggest ever independent on-line debates – Took over City Hall to stage the first event that heralded the start of their youth consultation project “Sounding Out London” and ran an amazing residential in Kent to really get the ball rolling with workshops exploring the root causes of youth violence.
Amazing energy – So many unsung young heroes.
The team tried hard to pull as many youth organisations and authority bodies together behind the project as possible – One Big Community – What it says on the tin – This was the vision and the ethos – My quote about it taking a whole City to keep its kids safe taken from the wonderful old African sentiment that it takes a whole village to raise a child – Its true. this should be an ambition shared by all – We have lost far too many teenagers on our streets. It never seems to stop. It has to stop!
But lets look at the term “Youth Violence” It is seen so much in the media it is almost like its treated as a brand – This has to stop also – Violence is a man made phenomenon not something that just fell out of the air.
I feel that we have to look at how violence has been manifesting in young peoples lives – We live in a far more violent society today than the one our parents grew up in – Television – Films – Video Games – Everywhere you turn gratuitous violence is widespread and embedded in our culture – Look at the way the big brands target poor children almost from the cradle. Yes, poor children. The big brands are enterprising and callous in the extreme – It is all about profits. They clothe/feed… endorse the kind of music artists and sports stars the kids aspire to be like then they invest many millions of pounds advertising their products in inner city areas – The “mood” advertising normally tends to reflect “attitude” as much as inspiration – It is not just the clothing brands it is far more widespread than that – It ignites materialism in young minds from a very early age – Kids with struggling parents or no parents at all – How they going to afford this “stuff” ? Does Mental Health in young people also get affected by the pressure young people in poor areas are put under? I certainly think so!
I think the adult world needs take a long hard look at itself – Even the 24 hour news channels now showing looped tape coverage of terrorist outrages – Which is exactly what the terrorists want of course…Why do we need to see the violent scenes repeated over and over? The media and the big brands that pay their wages – More responsibility is needed. Can we stop the plague of teenager killing teenager? We have to believe we can – Most importantly though we must listen more to the youth of London – Give them a platform to be heard from so that they can be fully engaged in the finding of solutions to problems that they are most affected by.
Politicians, authority bodies – Media owners and the brands.. Must be made to listen. Far more young people are victims of crime than are perpetrators – And these kids, especially those from BME backgrounds, are victims many times over. The stereotyping that comes with the territory if you live in certain crime affected poor areas is also widespread. We can end this if we give young people the positive platform most of them already rightfully belong on. The more young peoples voices can be heard the better – Not just those that have transgressed by the way – This is a sinister trait of the authority bodies that these are the only young people ever paid any attention too – There are far more budding young entrepreneurs and good upstanding citizens among BME youth than their are gang members. Not that you would believe it if your a white middle class bank executive from the shires reading the London Evening Standard on the way home from your City Office!
We need our young people to be better enabled to speak directly to City Hall on issues that affect them. It should not be rocket science for a coalition of youth organisations and charities to come together in the way 1bc was intended so that a well constructed, sustainable and independent youth assembly can be developed – What better way for the next Mayor of London to best informed on youth issues?
I am getting on my bike (actually it is my good friend Winstone’s bike lol) tomorrow to ride 100 miles in the Prudential Ride London event raising money for Cambridge House the host of the project.
I am not as fit as a fiddle but it is still the best way I could think of to spend my 56th Birthday!!
Please feel free to support if you have the inclination
Be blessed not stressed… Thanks!