The System – Who can handle the truth?

2012 the epilogue:

For the third Year running the Prime Minister called SOLA “An epitome of the Big Society” in his speech at the reception for the SOLA nominees on the 29th November 2012. I think he really does emphasise with SOLA and the vision for the project – I am sure as Hell mind you that he does not have the slightest inkling for how tough it has been to create and manage the project – The big society ideal is all well and good but when your dealing with civil servants (The System) it is beyond difficult to get them to support anything that encompasses change – Change does not equate with them easily given it might threaten their comfort zone – Imagine a world where there is no youth violence for instance – Why would we need a youth violence division at the Home Office?

Cynical? It is hard not to be when you have been on the journey that I have been on and encountered the kind of people and situations I have encountered. In my experience Governments do not run this country they take temporary charge of the system that runs the Country. The system is run by Civil servants and the civil service is the biggest employer of people and manager of technology infrastructure in the land by far.

It has been almost 18 months since my last Blog and a lot of water has passed under the proverbial viaduct – We have seen two more SOLA shows staged – The Royal Albert Hall on Monday October 10th 2011 and the O2 Arena on Monday December 10th 2012. With the first event having been staged at the Alexandra Palace in 2009 and the 2nd at IndigO2 in 2010 this is 4 events we have managed to stage during one of the longest recession periods the UK has experienced. We have created a standard in live youth award events and we have done so against very high odds and without Government or local authority funding. We have raised almost £1 Million to stage and manage the 4 events – We operate out of a couple of desks in a community office in Peckham SE5 – We don’t have a Prince as a benefactor with all the grace, favour and middle England hand outs that encompasses. We are seen as a ghetto charity pure and simple. If we do not knock the doors very hard we cannot expect them to be opened.

We have fought to establish SOLA as a means of bringing some balance into a world where young people are generally stereotyped negatively by the media. Targeted by the big commercial consumer brands unmercifully yet generally under invested in by all and sundry outside of the youth sector where the cuts have decimated services. SOLA is generic but by and large a big percentage of our young nominees come from inner city communities where the ethnic minority groups are not exactly minority in a lot of areas. I personally dream of a colour blind society where equality is king and success goes to those most deserving – That day may be a long way off but I believe that one day it will come. For sure though it may need to come through revolution more than being able to rely on evolution!

London is now one of the most multi cultural cities in the World – Its ethnicity and demographic variances making it perhaps the most diverse City of all – It has a long way to go before it is free of prejudice and an even longer way to go before equality is the standard we must demand for it to be however.

Look at the higher management echelons of the civil service and tell me what you see – You can do this easily enough if you care to use internet search engines to resource the information – There is very little diversity in evidence let along equality.

I am not suggesting there are racial implications – far from it I think the issue is far simpler than this but in essence just as alarming – I think the system is flawed.

Now look at the media – Look at the leading tabloids and broadcasters at senior management and editorial level – You will find the same flaws.

Look at the marketing and advertising industries and again the same inequality is starkly illustrated – This cannot be an academic issue as SOLA proves conclusively how many high achievers are coming out of ethnic minority groups.

Very alarmingly from the perspective of being able to affect change I have regularly come up against a challenge with SOLA in that the brands find it “too urban” according to marketing agencies – There is something very sinister in this given that it is a reference that has only been used in general terms since the black music industry reinvented itself as the “urban” music industry as more and more young white artists started adopting music of black origin as a genre of their own.

To summarise – I feel that it is the class system that is holding us back from becoming the beacon of equality I would like to see London become. The system is largely managed at the top end by white upper and middle class academics. I believe this will change as our young people storm the bastion of privilege through their drive, ambition, desire and endeavour to succeed.  It wont change quickly enough though unless it is highlighted as an issue and not allowed to be seen as a taboo subject. Those of us in a position to do so also have to make sure that young people of all colours, creeds, gender and religions are treated with 100% equality – Diversity is not good enough it is equality our kids deserve and that is what we have to strive for. That is ultimately what SOLA is about.

There is a scene in a classic film starring Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise called “A Few Good Men” – It is a courtroom drama where Tom Cruise’s character is cross examining a feisty old war General played by Jack Nicholson – Nicholson asks him “What exactly is is it you want from me” Cruise responds with “The Truth!” .. The Nicholson riposte is sharp and loud “Son You cant handle the truth”

Is there a class system here in the UK that is suppressing young people that come out of what are now largely poverty affected inner city areas? Perhaps that is a question we could pose to the Mayor of London to see what his views are on the issue.

The Mayor tried to launch a scheme in 2010 which he called his “Black Boys mentoring scheme” – We felt the [project was rather badly labelled and felt compelled to tell him so. In any case it was a dismal failure so not too much damage was done as it flopped without really getting out of the starting traps. A delegation of our young people went to speak to his management team about their views on it at the time and one of the objections they raised to the stereotyping was that they clearly would not have been able to launch a scheme calling it a “white boys mentoring scheme”

The Mayor is currently flavour of the month of course after his spectacular success at the Olympics – After Ken Livingstone helped win London the 2012 games it has to be said that Boris made hay with its deemed success – I felt it was close to being the biggest fraud in history. Billions of pounds and limitless resource and infrastructure backed up by almost infinite positive propaganda by the media and low and behold we won a heap of medals. meanwhile people in the youth sector were facing having to try and make things happen with zero funding and no resource while trying to get the national media to cover positive stories about young people is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

Just imagine what would happen if the same resource that the Government put into the Olympics was put into our young people?

Happy New Year

 

 

 

 

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Time to reflect

The riots and looting were awful. There can be no real excuse for the violence and destruction and in the end we were probably lucky that more lives were not lost. Many young people were involved and some of them were already hardened criminals. There were also quite a few silly young people caught up in the heat of the moment that did things out of character.

The prime Minister has said that parts of society are sick. This is hard to argue with. I feel he should have taken time to reflect however before passing summary judgement. Tonight on channel 5 we see the return of celebrity big brother and millions will tune in to see if Karry Katona is snorting coke again or if the girl from the only way is Essex can string two sentences together without saying DER. The tabloids will lap up every minute of it and devote page after page to its promotion. Sick society – What about the media that fuels it?

I think the thing I am struggling with most at the moment is the extreme nature of the sentences being passed for young first time offenders caught up in the riots. I know that many will agree but here is my dilemma. Having spent quite a few years now supporting anti knife crime campaigns and having worked with many families who have lost their kids to this form of violence I feel entitled to ask where all these prison cells have suddenly appeared from and also how come the judciary are doing what they are told by the Government.

They told us there were not enough cells to put away first time offenders caught carrying knives and yet now they incarcerate first time offenders for taking a bottle of lucozade. They told us that sentencing was at the discretion of the courts – Something they could not interfere with.

As I say, the riots were shameful and sanity had to be restored to our streets. Few would argue this. Declaring war on every single kid that got caught up in them is not right either though.

Many more kids have been killed with knives since we campaigned unsucesfully for tougher sentencing. If the Government had reacted in the same way as they have now proven they can to enforce tough justice, would lives have been saved?

Do they owe an apology to families who have lost loved ones that might have been saved? They said there were no prison cells and they said that sentencing was at the discretion of the courts.

Time to reflect.

The material world we are forced to live in

The material world we are forced to live in

Another teenager bleeds to death on the streets of South London. His throat is slashed and a blade is plunged into his neck. He was 16 years old.

A boy of 13 is in police custody and one of his young accomplices is heard by witnesses (snitches)to say “I cant wait to see this” as he left a bus to hunt down his prey.

I saw a bright new shop had opened in the Elephant and Castle. A jewelers store opening is a good sign that maybe the recession might soon be over I thought. Then I realised it was in fact a pawn shop. The picture in the window of an excited looking attractive young girl says “I got £159” – The currency of misery.

Rio Ferdinand gets given £159 every few minutes for wearing a red shirt for a couple of hours a week. Good job the youth club was open in Peckham to keep him occupied when he was growing up in the area.

Not many youth clubs open now of course. Every young boy would love to be a premier league footballer. If they are dedicated and exceptionally good then if they are also lucky they could be the one in every 3 million that gets the chance.

I wonder if the boy on the bus had a youth club to go to? I would like to ask his parents what he had for breakfast that morning. What kind of television programmes he watches. Does he like the apprentice and the X Factor. Does his diet have many additives in it. Does he drink a lot of coca cola? Does he like Rap music?

Does he have an England football shirt in his wardrobe?

They tell me David Haye lost last night. I am not sure how that works given the millions he banked. I am assuming that Umbro paid him handsomely to wear the new England away shirt into the ring. The England away shirt is supposed to be red. The national colours. It was blue. I guess it is just a marketing gimick…

Yemurai Kanyangarara RIP

The Spirit of London Awards 2011

It has been a while since I last blogged. Recharging the batteries would be a great excuse – Telling it how it is however I just been too busy to find the time. We are into the final countdown for this Years Spirit of London awards already!

Putting the spotlight on the positive youth of London was the rationale for setting the awards up back in 2008 – There were 29 teenage deaths in London alone that year due to youth violence – We wanted to do something to address the imbalance with all the negative media this was generating – We felt that with so many good people already running various crime intervention projects a new approach was needed to tackling the negative issues.

Ultimately there are a hell of a lot more good kids than there are bad its just that the negative actions of the minority grab all the headlines – we felt that given they are the main “victims” of crime as the main demographic the feral minority target, if we could mobilise them into a “movement” then this would be one of the most telling things we could achieve. We realised it would be hard funding wise as the money set aside by the Government and local authorities is generally given to projects that target the feral minority directly. The kids coming out of the toughest areas who make the right choices and do not engage in criminality are largely overlooked. Simple fact is though we really believed it could make a difference if we developed a “trojan horse” style project like that and so we went for it anyway!

The plan with SOLA was audacious in that we set our sights on a fusion of the BAFTAS, the BRITS and the MOBOS as our template and “The Community Oscars for young people” as the strap line to explain what was in the box affectively!

Thanks to the efforts of an amazing team of people, many of them youth volunteers from Southwark and Haringey, we pulled off the event we had aspired to deliver when on the 27th November 2009 we staged the inaugural Spirit of London Awards @ The Alexandra Palace in North London. The young people who had come together through the award nominations were quite amazing and with the support of sponsors like Moss Brothers we were able to recreate the Oscars format we set out to achieve. It was an amazing evening.

The then Labour Government were all over us like a rash now as we had clearly delivered something with strong value so when the then Minister for Schools promised us significant funding to take the project forward it seemed the next step of the journey would be a lot easier. Our plan entailed us being able to build outreach programmes to engage the SOLA Ambassadors in could also be implemented earlier than envisaged. Sadly the promises never came to anything more than that and we found ourselves without any funding at all due to the election.

What went on during this period was quite an eye opener for us in terms of the way things work in Whitehall – The “politics behind the politics” as many refer to the way the “system” works. What has gone on since, especially how we managed to stage SOLA 2010 at the IndigO2 having gone almost 18 months without any kind of official funding at all…. well a book will be written at some stage I am sure. Downing Street receptions and the full support of the Mayor of London but zero help with funding. We had to fight and scrap for every penny invested in the brand. At times the struggle made the old saying about “pushing water up hill with a spoon” a “boast” given we would have done anything for a spoon!

The team of young people behind the project had grown significantly however and it was the youngsters who came through “behind the scenes” to selflessly work to promote their peers that provide the biggest success story of all attached to the project. We also had the support of our Southwark Young Advisor team and their wonderful lead Chloe Newman – This is not the right moment for me to go into too much detail about the selflessness of the team or the individuals involved. Time enough for that as the story behind how we are staging the event this year at the Royal Albert Hall is disclosed. I will however bring to your attention some of the heroes behind the scenes.

The SOLA Youth Management Foundation is now pulling the strings and Whitney Iles, Emanuel Cagengue, Andre Campbell and Richard Serunjogi are young social entrepreneurs blazing a trail for their peers – The SOLA Ambassador programme is also taking shape and the amazing young people who have come through the class or 2009 and the class of 2010 awards truly are inspirational.

Again there will be more about the likes of Dean Atta, Mizz Camara, Haley Rea, Bobby Kensah, the Ladywell School Young Citizens, Vanessa Sanyauke, Jessica Elliot, The Respect Team,  Dennis Gyamfi , Mariama Samba, Ebonie Barlow-Reid, Ritz, Omar Choudary and the rest… In the months to come…. We are told that the Olympics is going to make London proud well I can tell you that these young people are making London proud already. And they will provide a true legacy that will serve us well.

So the countdown now begins to Monday October 10th 2011 and the 3rd Spirit of London Awards at the ROYAL ALBERT HALL – Who could have imagined we would be rolling up at such a salubrious venue to pay homage the great and the good of London’s youth when we first set out our vision for the brand – It is a huge challenge of course but it is one we are rising to with the help of some very talented people such as Nadu Placca of Mocca events who is our event manager this Year and George Ebenezer of GGI who is managing our artist recruitment for the support acts who help give the night its “oomph factor!” watch this space for some extremely talented artists being announced in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks I will also talk about the support our celebrity ambassadors such as Christine Ohorougu, Ashley Walters, Adam Deacon, Brooke Kinsella, Rio Ferdinand, Jermain Jenas and Jermain Defoe will be giving to the event this year and finally…

A big mention for our latest media partners, on-line youth broadcasting sensation SBTV – They are busy putting the finishing touches to the launch of their own new website next week and with over 50 million viewers the word “sensation” really is not being over played! A big thank you to Jamal Edwards, Liam Tootill, Rick Tank and the rest of their crew – They join the Sun and Kiss 100 as our own “Premier league media partner Team” – Every top Premier team needs a top Manager of course and with Toby Burnham of Freud Communications coming behind us in this respect this Year we really are going to be in good shape to get the message out that “The Kids are alright!”

The nominations for this years community Oscars for young people lighting up their local communities commence on Monday July 4th so be ready to get nominating – We have a new national award this Year for THE YOUNG CAMPAIGNER OF THE YEAR and we are also introducing an ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH FASHION category to the existing London-based awards – It is going to be mad, hectic, stress central and an absolute blast!

Please follow the progress and with the capacity of the event up to 3,000 this Year I hope to see many of you there on the night!

May the Spirit of London be strong in you!

G x

With special thanks to Dan Janes of Converxion who is now managing our on-line activity in support of the wonderful web build work Digital Marmalade have done with the site development – The regenerated site will be live on July 4th in time for the launch!

Oh and thanks also to Jess Marcel my poor PA for the next 4 months who will be trying to make sense of my spelling and grammar and keeping the admin in order!

FOLLOW US www.twitter/spiritoflondon

Desensitized Youth – So how did that happen?

Well it is not really rocket science is it. The media, entertainment, fashion, sport and fast food industries of course!

Back in the day I remember being coaxed into buying a milky bar by a little bespectacled boy wearing a cowby outfit. He used to shout “the milky bars are on us” – This was misleading advertising of course as my gran used to have to pay for them!

Fast forward a few years to when I used to creep into the Crown Tavern on the Albert Embankment SE11 to play the space invader machine when I was still only 14. ten pence in the slot and away I would go off into a world of my own. Saving the galaxy from a load of little green men who were marching down the screen in single file trying to shoot me before I shot them – Ducking in and out behind the rock shape thing that gave me sanctuary – I can still remember the adrenalin rush when I reached a new level and the feeling of frustration when I narrowly failed to beat my best score before lost my final life.

when you look back at our youth we always allow ourself a little leeway for nostalgia of course – Things always seem to have been rosier in the garden when we were kids… Well the thing is.. They were!

The Milky bar kid got elbowed aside by Ronald Macdonald a long time ago and the little green men have been replaced by real life human looking avitars that kids are encouraged to stab, shoot and run over in some cases (AKA Grand Theft Auto) – All in the name of entertainment of course. The marketing industry has been eating away at the “generation NOW” consumer market for a long time – Kids are made to feel second class citizens in the school playground these days if their trainers do not have 3 stripes or a giant tick (swoosh!) on them.

We live in a different age. An age where greed is seen to be good and materialism is driven by the media. Four page pull out supplements telling young people all about the latest overnight celebrities uncovered by the producers of BIG BROTHER and rain forests wiped out by the X Factor phenomenon with the amount of tabloid coverage. Ever seen the statistics for what generation is most widely phoning in their votes to help pay for Simon Cowells next private jet or Florida mansion? Why its the youth market of course.

Mobile phones.. Wow can you imagine what the Milky Bar kid would have made of mobile phones – Anyone know a young person who has not got one? Oh and the people they put on Big Brother and the X Factor – Can you believe how many of them end up having skeletons in the closet? ironic acts of fate or cynical exploitation to keep the ratings up and the tabloid coverage thick and lurid ? You choose.

Get rich quick – oh and yes of course the Apprentice with Sir Alan Sugar. Stab everyone in the back and have the scruples of an alley cat – Come out on top and you can be the next big success story – What message does this kind of programme give out?

Then there is Premier League football – The kids must have the shirt, the coloured boots and Sky TV subscription – Their idols.. The top players.. Role models?

In summary I think that times have changed very dramatically and young people have been targetted at younger and younger ages by the media and marketing companies… the innocence has been stripped away from youth and it is the adult world that are responsible.

Look at the fashion industry and the way it targets young girls. The fast food industry with its special offers and ever bigger burgers. The music industry with its download must have new releases and ring tones and now of course the new phenomenon of social media. Get the kids all into one place and then attack them with marketing messages and graphic images from every direction – Have you seen the branding on facebook or BEBO recently? – Look at youth culture programming now like SKINS and HOLLYOAKES – If a kid is not having sex reguarly by 16, doing drugs and drinking alcopops then it seems they are not normal according to the tone of these kinds of programme. Then there are all the new lifestyle mags that target girls but position boys with “attitude” as being cool – Has anyone been noticing that teenage girls reguarly put people like Colleen Rooney down as their perfect role model. I am not knocking Colleen she seems a really nice girl with some very good attributes. Lets be clear though the career choice she took after leaving school with no qualifications and no job is not one we should be suggesting ANY young girl takes let along be allowing her to become an iconic role model. Ironic in the extreme (and if you are wearing your brand colleen perfume right at the moment I am sure it is very nice so please dont think I am being critical of the way you smell! lol)

Anyway before I go off into a complete rant – Simply blaming bad parenting for the difference in attitude we see in young people today is not going to solve anything…… materialism driven through the media is at the heart of so much that has gone wrong… The must have and must have quick culture that sees yesterdays latest mobile phone redundant by tomorrow…. We need to think about how this can be adressed.. If indeed it can be.. The horse has bolted and the barn door is wide open!

Let us never forget that the vast majority of young people turn out well no matter what bad influences might lay in wait for them….. If we are going to find solutions for the feral minority that wreak havoc in some communities then we need first to recognise that things have changed and part of that change may well be that the feral youth are a product of our own making…… be the change you want to be… How poignant!

Now.. where did I leave that Milky Bar?

G x

TIME FOR ACTION – OUR BACKYARD NOT THE MIDDLE EAST!

It will be  a year since the murder of 16-year-old Agnes Sina-Inakoju who was shot in the neck as she queued to buy food in a chicken shop in Hoxton North London on April 14th 2010. An innocent bystander caught in the middle of a savage turf war between rival gangs of cowardly young thugs. Guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Agnes was a brilliant student and had a long and prosperous life ahead of her. To her family of course she was still just a baby stolen from the heart of their very existence. Her life-force ripped away by an act of callous violence when a stupid feral little boy, decided to shoot indiscriminately through a shop window. A stupid feral little boy with a gun. His shooting skills probably honed on his Sony play station in his bedroom.

At the time of her death the media made some mentions about it maybe being a tipping point – The local community was up in arms. Politicians talked of a radical clamp down on gang activity. Other victim families spoke out and the news cameras followed the families distress right to the funeral while the tabloids made hay with their condemnation.

On the 30th March 2011 a little 5-year-old little girl by the name of Thusha Kamaleswaran was in a small family run convenience store in Stockwell, South London visiting friends with her mum. Wrong place, wrong time again as the feral evil on push bikes came calling. Once again a wannabe mobster teenage monster fired indiscriminately through a shop window, this time hitting a 5-year-old baby. Let us give thanks to God that she has survived, Physically if not mentally. Will the scars and nightmares ever heal entirely? I would doubt it the poor little mite will probably live her entire life in fear that the monsters will come back.

Once again the media has been up in arms and prominent politicians are promising clamp downs and tough action. Noise… Lots of noise. On the 30th March 2011 @ 2pm I had attended a Home Office round table meeting on youth gang and gun culture chaired by the current Home Secretary. A Lady who had called me almost a Year ago shortly after taking office saying she was looking forward to meeting with me and discussing the work of the Damilola Taylor Trust. The meeting was arranged and then cancelled at a few hours notice due to her being busy elsewhere. This round table was subsequently the first time I had seen her in the flesh. Almost a Year on and it has never been rescheduled. I did send a couple of email asking whether it could be put back in the diary but when they never got any response I gave up. So there I was sat at the round table listening to her orchestrating a questions and answers session about youth crime. The most interesting thing of note I can tell you about the meeting is that the table is not round. There are so many small organisations and youth agencies sat around it that if it were round it would probably circumnavigate the M25 – Suffice to say I don’t think these meetings achieve much. There is so little cohesion in the way things are done anyway that when they sit there and talk about issues prevalent to London….the Mayors office are not even represented when they hold all the budgets for London youth crime. Crimestoppers are not part of the round table either. What the hell are the Damilola Taylor Trust with our limited resource and ability to actually effect change doing sat round the table when Crimestoppers are not there you might ask? Good question is all I can respond with. I have no idea! I have asked many times but nobody has ever given an answer.

Clearly though the system that runs the way youth crime is tackled in London is not working and given the same people who are running the system are the same people who were running the system under the previous Government I don’t see it is the Government that can take the blame. They can take the blame for not changing the system of course but then the economy has been the absolute number one priority of the coalition by a long way with law and order seemingly off their priority list. Strange for a Tory led Government given Law and order has always been high on their parties manifesto’s. It is particularly galling for me given the shadow Home Secretary under the Tories during the general election had spoken at length with us directly about the flaws he saw in the system and his great passion for tackling the issues at root – He even attended work shops we organised with some of the hardest to reach youngsters involved in gang activity in one particular area of London which we also arranged for members of Families utd to attend.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/2912252/Gang-member-says-sorry-to-father-of-Colin-KnoxGang-says-sorryJimmy-MitzenRobert-KnoxBen-Kinsella.html

Anyway, things have obviously changed in more ways than one and the evidence that this Government is not focused enough on tackling youth crime is summarised here in one particularly stomach churning example of the World gone mad. It is the case of the magistrate who fined a youth £300 for stabbing 3 others leaving one on a life support machine.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1356051/Thug-stabbed-teens-pays-just-300-compensation-walks-free-court.html

Mr Cameron should have fired this magistrate. Pure and simple this is not like a football referee who is at liberty to make mistakes and keep his job. This is somebody charged with making judgements that can directly affect the welfare and safety of our young people. This one malfunctioned with this judgement and should have been sacked. Once again though I fear it is an indication that the “system” that runs the country is flawed and the Government is currently looking incapable of fixing it. They are putting their noses into conflicts all around the world and speaking of “protecting innocent civilians” – What about the innocent civilians who cannot buy chicken or gum in local community stores in London without fear of being shot dead, Mr Cameron?

Let us worry about the problems in our own back yards before we worry about the problems in Libya or Bahrain – Talking of back yards though brings my focus onto the “what if” factor – Given that Stockwell and Hoxton are not necessarily the most prominent places visited by the well to heeled – What if the next time a gang of hooded feral’s wealding guns chases down their intended victims into a packed Waitrose in Hampstead where the white middle class take their 5 year olds to shop – WHAT IF????

Let me be clear – I do not believe that the Government alone can resolve the problem of gang culture. In fact they have no chance. Nor do the police. When you get young boys of 14 years old running around with guns shooting indiscriminately into shop windows you need to treat it as a huge alarm call. The community itself needs to wake itself up and realise that the problem needs resolving by adopting a zero tolerance to gang culture that is breeding in its midst and has been for far too long. When two young boys from Peckham were described as “Peckham Boys” at their trial into the murder of Damilola because of their affiliation to a local gang perhaps not enough attention was paid to the problem. Now it is an epidemic.

In the 4 years I have been involved with the Damilola Taylor Trust I have met some remarkable people. The most impressive of which have been young people who come out of the toughest areas of London but who have such a great passion to succeed in life. They more than anyone are the victims of the small feral minority who blight the black community with their feral activity. Yes – The black community. Most of the best and most upstanding young people I work with come from the black community. Like me they share a colour blind approach to life but if it needs to be broken down then yes it is the black community whose box they would tick on an application form that asks for ethnicity. It makes my blood boil that they should need to read yet again after this latest atrocity the same descriptive narrative that was attached to the headlines in Hoxton last year “BLACK YOUTHS WERE SEEN RUNNING FROM THE CRIME SCENE” – It almost makes the term “black youth” seem derogatory – We cannot escape the fact that it is what it is but at the same time when are the community going to rise as one and say “enough is enough” on behalf of the huge majority of black youths who don’t deserve this shit!

Do we really want to sit back and wait until the incident in Hampstead or Richmond waitrose occurs for real? Of course we don’t.

It is time for action and it is time for action NOW. A stand needs to be made and the deafening sound of silence from leading black musicians towards the evil of gang culture needs to be challenged for one thing. So does the fact that Gang culture was imported from America and music and fashion are at it the core of its adopted style. The big American youth brand such as Nike – Why cannot they come out and call for a stand to be taken? Scared of losing sales perhaps? It might be cool to have attitude but it is not cool to be evil and gang culture is evil pure and simple.

The police cannot move into built up residential areas and arrest every large group of young people gathered together who just might be in a gang. The local communities know very well who these gangs are however and they can move against them. ostracize them and drive them out if you have any inkling that they are acting violently. Form local community safety committees and do not fear bringing the police in or working with crimestoppers. Speak to their parents and if the parents do not want to help then report them to the local council – Let the shooting of a 5-year-old innocent child be the tipping point that the slaying of an innocent 16 year old should have been 12 months ago. Make a stand for decency and for the good of the entire community – Black and white.

We are all in this together!

Gary – Damilola Taylor Trust

PS: Why crimestoppers should not be ignored by the Home Office http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbnbwb0WVTI&feature=player_embedded

SUPERHEROES FOR HIRE

So I am reading in the Sun the other day about some crazy kid running around Harrow in North London calling himself the “night warrior” clad in spandex.. Seems he has been joined by another goofy nerd called “The man in Black” who wears a black hat with a scarf round his face… and they are errm fighting crime… Pretty sad I thought… That the Sun should be putting these goofballs at risk by publishing their fantasy stories… What if they get set upon and stabbed due to the publicised stupidity…. Real shame..

I guess they have only themselves to blame for willingly selling the Sun a cheap shot story… With Big Brother off our screens there are always going to be fame hungry jerks looking for one way or another to get in the tabloids… And the Sun always got pages to fill!

Keeping this short and sweet – Things been looking up recently and thats cool enough without the need for capes and men in tights! People doing some real good things out there and that aint fantasy its just plain old fashioned people doing good things and helping turn the tide. It can be done you know – Communities dont need superheroes they just need those strong enough to make a stand to do so. And thats what I think is starting to happen.

Then again – back in the day when men were men and Sheep were blow up dolls in the back of yellow 3 wheeled robin reliants outside Nelson Mandela House… At least Fools and horses were not unemployed!

Dell Boy and Rodders – Gone but never forgotten in SE5!

Kushty!

G x