Guest post by Stella Creasy MP
In 2008 Boris Johnson put the issue of knife crime and youth violence front and centre of his campaign to be London Mayor with his Time For Action programme.
Yet since 2008 the number of young knife crime victims in London has risen by 29% and the genuine fear of crime continues to dominate many young Londoners’ lives.
Tackling youth crime in London requires a fresh approach. Resources are scarce, confidence in the police is low among young people and the voices of young people are too often ignored.
In the run up to the London Mayoral election the Youth Crime Pledge seeks to give young Londoners the skills and confidence to campaign about the impact of crime on their lives in the capital and call for action from their Mayor on this issue. The objectives of the campaign are:
- The highlight the nature and extent of youth crime and fear of crime for young people in London.
- To call for positive action to address those concerns and to ensure that London is a safer city for all young people.
- To give young people a chance to voice their views on these issues.
- To campaign for a Mayor who will pledge to act on these concerns.
We want young people from across London to come along to one of our training sessions, learn some basic community organising techniques and head out to campaign on the issue of youth crime.
In particular we would like them to organise one discussion with other young people around the issue of youth crime and to contact one person of influence about these issues to ask for their support in the campaign.
Already more than 50 young activists are now engaged in campaigning for change across London from Tower Hamlets to Brent, Croydon to Enfield. Events they have organised have included a hundred-strong discussion with young people in Hackney, a young activist meeting with her school’s Fresh Start group (of pupils who were suspended/excluded from school) and another activist meeting with every MP in Enfield to promote the pledge.
In south London Dami has organised a meeting at Ladywell youth village for Thursday 19 April, James has one planned for Croydon and set up a campaign Twitter account, Giovanna held a screening of Kidulthood and a discussion afterwards, Renie held a meeting with his local youth parliament in Lewisham and is meeting with local politicians, Josh and Lionel have organised two meetings in Lambeth, and Ian has lobbied local officials.
On Saturday 21 April all these young activists will be holding a high profile major rally in the Paddington area of London which Ken Livingstone has agreed to attend as well as several other high profile politicians.
Places at this interactive and fun event are limited so if you or a young person you know would like to participate in this youth led event to make your voice heard about these issues please contact James Austin by emailing James@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk or on 020 8521 1223 or via Facebook to book your space. You can also see the #M4YL tag on twitter.
The event will run between 2pm and 3.30pm and a contact name, email, telephone number and postcode is required for security purposes.