A Call to Action
The dangers young people face are widespread yet consistently ignored.
Violence against them, the violence they witness and the fear they experience, serve to spread violence further.
Young people are at war on our streets. The data is damning. Huge collective insecurities drive this violence. Yet historical context is the great absentee.
Difficult to disentangle and differentiate between what was then and now, without historical context. We need to accept the fear that prevents us from facing the complexity and relatedness of things if we are to reduce inequality and improve social justice.
Distrust: In the 2007-8 riots, 54 teenagers were stabbed to death in London. Since January this year, there have been 18 stabbed to death.
These were times of deep distrust, igniting our worst fears: financial crisis, recession. Young people leaving school and first time entrants into the labour market took a hit.
Then, as now, people scrambled to explain the trend: ' broken families', 'black culture', 'poverty', 'racism', 'inequality', 'toxic masculinity' and 'alcohol misuse'. Most of these factors were outside the bounds of policing.
Many interventions and support services focus on the responsibility of the young person, but the responsibility of the communities that those young people live in is rarely examined. When we fail to pick up our responsibility as communities, we send our young people into the margins: the criminal youth justice system and mental health services.
It becomes almost impossible for those young people to then find their way back to take up a responsible place in their community. This damages not just the young person, but the very fabric of our community.
Loss of hope for the future. We face an existential crisis.
Young people who have experienced severe adversity in their lives already or who have been let down by institutions in the past are especially vulnerable. Some direct their anger outward to assault and homicide. Others direct their anger inward, in the form of self-harm and suicide - also increasingly prevalent among Britain's youth.
We have repeatedly failed young people who face criminalisation and violence.
We must tackle the root causes of harm. We must look at the historical and communal context. We, Act for Change, call on you to work with us and challenge the social determinants that result in street warriors.
We need social interventions and wrap-around services in our communities.
Together, let us create enabling conditions.
Then, instead of raising Street Warriors we will raise
Read the call to action below and sign it here.
Let young people know
we hear their anger and witness their pain.
we are listening.
we do not blame them for our insecurities.
Let us connect and engage
repair public trust and foster leadership in our communities
Let us keep our youth in school
Include, re-include and not exclude
Together, let us
create wrap-around services
hold the energy of violent youth with the discipline
connect with their power and use it with strength
catch the present amongst us - today and heal the history of past trauma
Be Bold. Let us do something different:
infuse new meaning into our youths' fight for a brighter future
Help young people become
Citizens for our Planet