On October 4th and 5th 2012 The Crib youth project ran a trading places workshop on Debeauvoir estate N1 with the Metropolitan police.
This is some highlights of the two day session.
On October 4th and 5th 2012 The Crib youth project ran a trading places workshop on Debeauvoir estate N1 with the Metropolitan police.
This is some highlights of the two day session.
Two weeks before the Olympics started, it seemed the media were looking for anything that could possibly go wrong for LOCOG (organisers of the London 2012 games). Listening to LBC 97.3 fm there seemed to be an essence of whining, moaning and complaining about the games from Security G4S failures to Games lane fiascos. Disappointed with the negative rhetoric regarding the experience I believed London should have been embracing the opportunity.
As this is the third time we have had the games in London, I doubt we would host it again. Armed with the power of positivity I found myself defending the games at every opportunity, I even called LBC to make a statement after peoples comments started to irritate me. Oozing optimism one of my friends suggested I should have been employed by the LOGOC in PR.
This enthusiastic spirit was even more evident at the youth project as I was trying to convince the young people to get involved in the games. Something had to be done. My initiative and passion combusted into a youth forum called Gold Medal moment. The aim was to convey to young people the Olympic message ‘inspire a generation’. Using the Olympics as a platform for discussion I encouraged the young people to watch as much of the Games as they could. During the sessions we replayed the amazing scenes we had witnessed, disappointing disqualifications, world records, photo finishes and TeamGB fever.
Feeding off ‘Gold Medal Moment’, I focused young people’s attention on their moment in the spotlight. I told them that gold medal moment might not have anything to do with sport, but would be when they achieved something they had worked exceptionally hard for. As they days went by the young people aged between 13 and 17 were getting more and more excited. When team GB started raking in the gold medals it lifted the mood, even those who were not really interested in the games started getting involved. Table tennis is the sport of choice at the youth project, after the men’s single final one young man came up to me and said after watching the games he now has the technique to beat me. I liked this new confidence so I made it more interesting I told a group of them who love playing table tennis if any of them could beat me they would be rewarded with JD Sports vouchers. Vouchers are normally for the young people who volunteer and participate in debates and workshops; needless to say the vouchers remain safe as none of them were able to beat me.
Once the Closing Ceremony signalled the Olympic Games were over it was time to regroup and talk about their Gold medal moments. One young person, Gloria aged 13, explained how Jessica Ennis winning Gold had inspired her. Although having little knowledge of the athlete prior to the games she had become captivated by her story and excited by her achievement. Gloria’s aspirations are not in Sport but Medicine – her dream is to be a paediatrician, so her Gold medal moment would be when is qualified and is able to help her first child patient. Ennis’s hard work ethic and deserving gold medal instilled in her motivation and determination to make her own dream a reality.
Nathan, 12 chose Luke Campbell’s Gold medal for Team GB in Boxing as his inspiring moment. Boxing is an interest of Nathan’s; portrayed in his attendance and involvement in the Youth Club’s newly established boxing sessions. Throughout the sessions it was evident Nathan is naturally gifted and has the talent to achieve greatness in the sport. Being stimulated by Campbell’s outstanding performance in his home town has allowed him to witness firsthand the rewards of dedication and training. His desire to be a great boxer has increased with his aim to also one day be an Olympic Champion.
These are two of the young people that have been inspired to chase their gold medal moment, to conclude I showed them the video of Derek Redmond. He was the 400m athlete in the 1992 Barcelona games, he was in the final and got injured half way through, but stood up to finish the race regardless. They really liked the video because it showed no matter what obstacles they face they should keep going. Greg Baum of the Sydney Morning herald newspaper wrote “Some Olympic sites become wasteland after the games, this one began as wasteland and is now full of possibilities.” I could not have put that better myself so now the topic up for discussion across the nation is of legacy, hopefully we live up to those possibilities.
So regardless of your age, whether you are in secondary school, college, university or in the middle of your career sit back and think about what your Gold medal moment is.
Are you doing enough to achieve it?
Listen and share this great poem by Lionheartfelt
I have been looking for someone to share my life with
I was looking for someone very special who would make me happy
I met a few people who told me who would be perfect for me
But they said she would not be interested unless I have had interaction with a few people before that
So I met education, she gave me knowledge
I met history, she gave me pride
I also met believe who gave me determination and motivation
My good friends kept pushing me to find her
But I was told in order to meet my perfect partner I was still missing something
Eventually after many tries I met up with ambition, she was really good to me; she gave me direction and goals
As I continued my journey to meet my match
I flirted with doubt, but told her it would not work
Fear, she had me for a while, I overcame her and told her I was not interested
They introduced me to their boss, she went by the name of failure, after meeting her I kindly rejected and told her that I was not destined to be with her and that I never wanted to see her again
My journey for learning never stopped
Because I finally found my Perfect partner and she goes by the name of SUCCESS
We are now very happy together
So now I have found her I never want to lose her, I will never go backwards
Because I have already met failure and she has nothing on
In January this year i was approached by film makers (Justin, the Director, Rahul, the producer). They told me about a documentary the were planning on making and wanted my input of the film. After several meeting I decided to be part of the project. This is a film that requires interest from people, the more people that show interest the easier it will to get made.
We (Justin, the Director, Rahul, the producer) have lived and worked in London for years, but the 2011 London riots shocked us and showed us a side of London and the country we hadn’t seen before. Naively we had assumed the country and the city had moved on from the football riots, race riots and confrontations between the police and the miners in the 1980s.
When we started speaking to people, at first, their stories confused us. Some black community leaders voiced concerns, not so much about racist Police, but rather about Police officers with no previous experience of ethnically mixed neighbourhoods; a priest explained how he helped negotiate a ceasefire while a pensioner was evacuated; a shopkeeper, whose store was gutted, found local people returning stolen goods and raising money to re-build the shop; Police officers we spoke to also raised concerns about the position they were being place in; and stories emerged of bizarrely wide range of people involved in the looting.
Things only started making sense to when we began listening to people involved in previous disturbances. Last Summer’s riots weren’t new, previous generations lived through serious disturbances, Burnley race riots in 2001, Northern Ireland in 1969, race riots in Notting Hill in 1958 and the Battle of Cable St in 1936, when half a million ordinary people fought the facists and brought East London to a standstill.
Starting with Battle of Cable St, 1936
We also found older generations that wanted to be heard, community leaders and younger generations that wanted to listen and many stories that had yet to be told. With the support of the local community we have decided to make a documentary to captures these stories, starting with conversations with Jewish men and women who stood down the facists at the 1936 Battle of Cable St. Their actions prompted the government to ban further similar marches and may have helped prevent the spread of facism in Britain, even as it took hold in many parts of Europe.
Nothing like this has ever been filmed before and the time is right to give people from previous generations who took to the streets a voice. In the wake of the English riots, Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, Greek street protests, unprecedented demonstrations in Russia and increasing unrest in China there is a need for a film on civil disturbances.
Time is also running out to speak to people who stood down the facists in 1936. Out of the half a million that took to the streets in 1936 only a handful are still alive and they want to connect with a younger generation while they still have time. We have already had some interesting exchanges, with this older generations expressing frustration at youth not being politically engaged. Some of the youth workers we spoke to agreed, and felt young people often believed politics wasn’t relevant to them and instead turned to branded goods for self esteem, identity and values.
We are filming the documentary in partnership with the local community and involving representatives of the local community at the heart of the story. We are working with local Churches, councillors, youth workers and community leaders. As we develop the idea we will put our work up on the internet so that the community to provide feedback. At the end of each stage we will put up 30 minute film on the internet. In particular we feel it will give young people a sense of history.
We have had conversations with distributors who are interested in the idea and will also be approaching broadcasters to fully fund the entire project, either as a standaolone film or as a series.
It is often difficult to look objectively at something as sensitive as last Summer’s violence, however, we feel giving previous generations a voice will help open up a debate not just on why civil unrest happens, but also on how the country has change so much in just one lifetime.
Other Ways You Can Help
The biggest contribution you can make is to share the idea with your friends using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and the IndieGoGo sharing tools.. As the film progresses there may also be other initiatives and othe ways to get involved and we will keep you updated on these as we progress.
Click the facebook link , like and share the page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/CivilUnrest/267317763360277
I visited Berlin on 9th of April 2012 for a week to meet street workers from the Gangway and witness Organisations. The week was focussed on a youth exchange project that has been running for a few years. Bringing young people from New York, Berlin and Paris together through the love of Hip-hop. Using hip-hop as a medium for this cultural exchange, giving young people a great opportunity to travel and embark on new experiences. After seeing all the positive work that is being done to engage young people, I was highly interested and the plan now is to make this exchange a 4 way city program. The aim is for London to be part of this brilliant project. That includes travelling to the other three cities and hosting them when it is our turn.
They also focussed on educating everyone about the city of Berlin and its history, part of the activities on the itinerary were visits to the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie, various museums and a tour of one of the Concentration camps.
Spending time with street workers Olad, Beezwax, Joe, Farbeon who are all passionate about what they do, makes me even more motivated to want to work with them. I was glad that I was given the opportunity to go to Berlin to see first hand how the project works and to add my input on the week.
For me it was also a learning experience engaging with the young people from Berlin, Paris and New york. Spending time with their teachers and mentors, exchanging stories on how things are different in our various cities. One thing was the same in one respect is the passion the street workers, the teachers, and mentors from all the cities had is what makes this type of project a success. The young people were grateful they had people who believed in them and wanted them to succeed. Some of the young people said that the trip was a great experience and that it has changed their life.
So the hard work now to make sure I organise London to be involved in this inspiring project. I would like to thank Olad, Beezwax, Joe, Farbeon, Patrick and the rest of my Berlin host for making me feel like part of the team.
PICTURES TAKEN BY OLAD AND FARBEON
Bullets flying filling the sky
Usually killing some that were not willing to die
Denial, anger , confusion and hate
All part of the emotion when a life is taken away
Her smile would have lit up any room
Her presence would be felt in any room
Her warmth would heat up any room
She was loved by many
She was a loving daughter, sister and Aunt
Her flame was lit on September 3rd 1993
As the years went on her flame grew stronger
Her passion for education fuelled her flame
The warm heat from her flame was felt must by her family and close friends
As her flame continued to grow
Some people who met her would carry a bit of her heat with them
On April 14th 2010 a bullet attempted to extinguish that flame
A bullet that came from a gun, that has caused so much harm
That was shot by a young man with no conscience
For two days I prayed and I hoped
It’s funny how we sometimes only turn to God when we need something
On 16th of April 2010 sadly her flame was no longer burning
Put out by a bullet that came from a gun
That was fired by a young man with no conscience
As the tears rolled down my face for the first time in a long time
Thinking about the pain of her family that will never be healed
The pain I saw in her mother’s eyes, should not be felt by any mother
The type of pain that would leave you numb
The type of pain of pain that leaved you broken
The type of pain of knowing this void will never be filled
The type of pain that words cannot simply describe
The truth is that bullet might have taken something away
But her flame still burns brightly to everyone that genuinely cared for her
It is her ever burning flame that I feel that keeps me motivated to do what I do
To teach, educate and pass on knowledge
Like my friend Dele said to help change the mindset so the mind is set
To achieve real change
MAY HER BEAUTIFUL FLAME CONTINUE TO BURN
REST IN PEACE
Wolverhampton Citizens for Change (WCFC) Conference
Saturday 24th March 2012
I am very pleased to invite you to our second conference which will be held on Saturday 24 March 2012 from 12.00 noon – 6.00 pm at The Connaught Hotel, Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton WV1 4S4.
Building on the success of the inaugural conference, which resulted in a total of 24 delegates indicating an interest in joining WCFC, this will be delivered through a variety of formats including presentations, workshops and debate. We anticipate this to be an exciting, stimulating and challenging conference which will give attendees the opportunity to contribute to and influence the future activities of WCFC.
The conference will draw on the experience from Keynote Speaker Emeka Egbuonu, writer and youth worker for the Crib Youth Project who grew up in Hackney and is the founder of Consequences, a programme aimed at giving 13-19 year olds the confidence and skills to avoid getting involved with gangs; or help them to exist gangs.
This will be an excellent opportunity to become inspired and invigorated to contribute to the work of WCFC.
Enclosed with this letter is a booking form and information about the four strands to assist you in making a decision about which workshop to attend.
I sincerely hope you will be able to attend and request that you complete and return the booking form by Wednesday 14 March 2012.
To book a place email the booking form to: email@example.com
Chair – Wolverhampton Citizens For Change (WCFC)
Image by: Stefan Paul: twitter @sketchdesignsuk
Are you willing to kill?
Last week I had the opportunity to have a discussion with a group of young people who are actively involved in a gang in Hackney, East London. Their allegiance is decorated on their skin with tattoos of their postcode and gang name. They gave their consent for the documentation of our discussion based on anonymity. The intention of the dialogue was to explore their reasoning regarding their gang involvement. None of these young people are engaged with local youth projects.
Initially the conversation focused on questions about gang hierarchy. With a unanimous voice they declared that they answer to no one and will act on impulse. One replied “the time we use to answer to ‘olders’ (older gang member) is long gone”. “You have to put in the work for your team; this is how you get your status up. Eventually when people know your name they will fear you as an individual or your gang.” Another shouted “at the end of the day it is all about respect”
I intercepted their outbursts with a personal account of my annual video tribute dedicated to all the young people who had died in London due to gang and youth violence. Expressing my sorrow at this situation I enquired about their feelings towards youth deaths. The response I got did not surprise me, the oldest one exclaimed “this is how it is now, people become immune unless they are directly affected”. There was no emotion on their faces, lacking empathy they were devoid of care. The desensitisation to youth fatalities was evident in their reactions. It became apparent that this hard outer shell was embedded into their survival technique ‘never show signs of weakness’.
My questioning shifted to serious topics: Are you willing to kill for your ideals, your gang, or where you live?
The smallest out of the group replied; “we are in too deep, I have enemies who probably will not hesitate to kill me if they saw me slipping (caught off guard). That is why I am always prepared for whatever the occasion and if that means dropping a body in the process then so be it”
Although many may be shocked by this, I was not. Unfortunately this is not the first occasion in which I have witnessed this same content from young people. I am always reminded of a quote from the film ‘we own the night’ “I would rather be judged by 12, than be carried by 6”. After I told them about that quote, they all agreed, saying that is exactly how they see it.
What would it take for you to move on from this lifestyle?
They all exchanged glances before one of the quiet ones who hadn’t yet participated in the discussion piped up: “to be honest even if I decided to go legit, I would still be in the game because like they said before we are in too deep. I would probably have to move out of London totally to actually concentrate on other things. Apart from that no way, my guard stays up 24’s.”
It is young people with this mentality that I am consistently attempting to engage with. Their loyalty to their peers and self perception as gang members forms a stumbling block from opportunities to change. Although weapons cause considerable damage, the real danger is spread through the mindset of these young people. Minor altercations can now result in a fatal shooting or stabbing, leaving yet another family with a scar that can never be healed. I attempt to get these young people to attend my consequences workshops or engage in youth activities but they refuse. However I consistently converse with them to challenge their way of thinking and provide an alternative lifestyle to the one they currently uphold.
More senseless killings
A few days after our discussion, I found out about the fatal stabbing which took the life of Kwame Ofosu-Asare (17) in Brixton. Reading the story made me angry and reminded me of the pain of losing someone. Also thinking about the family and how they will now cope with this void in their lives.
I am reminded of the period when I was doing research for my book and a man in his late 40’s said to me “do not waste your time it is inevitable, they will continue to kill each other”. I chose not to accept what he said, that can only happen if we do nothing and allow this to continue. The thing is people do not think it is their problem until something happens that affect them. The way things are anyone could be a victim.
I wrote my book Consequences to enhance my ability to spread my message to people around the country and of the young people I work with that believe in change. Thankfully I have been doing that by speaking and working in schools, at youth projects, prisons, and in the next month I will be running more consequences workshops, speaking at youth conferences in Wolverhampton, and also in Berlin.
Although I enjoy communicating, action is essential for change. Due to this I have enlisted positive young men to take charge and make an impact on someone’s life through mentoring. There seems to be an outcry when the police kill someone, while young people are killing each other every day, with a lack of effort for change and justice. One thing I learnt from my time in Los Angeles, speaking with former OG Crip gang member is to always have hope no matter how bad things may seem.
My repetition is for emphasis: everyone can play a part no matter how small.
If we strive to change mindsets, promote ambition and invest in young people then we would not need to tell them to put the knives and guns down. They would be in a position to make the right choices. This is not the time to give up, or to remain silent. A generation of future doctors, lawyers, prime ministers and teachers are wrapped up in a detrimental lifestyle of violence where innocent people are dying. Complacency cannot bring change.