No one truly believes that tragedy and heartache will come knocking on their door until it does. The thought of such pain is too much for many to comprehend. The ache in your stomach. The heaviness of your mind. The emptiness of your heart. So when we see such disasters on the news we entertain sympathy for a few minutes, commenting on the downturn of our society, before swiftly putting it out of our minds, allowing the shifting news stories to take our attention elsewhere.
The loss of a child is a point in time which alters one’s world forever. Time stops, an active, vibrant light which was lit inside at the moment of their arrival is blown out. Questions and memories flood your mind from the moment consciousness hits you at the beginning of the day through until the end when exhaustion finally carries you to sleep.
Many reading this article have not yet received the news that they will be expecting a child of their own. Have not yet looked into the eyes of a life they created. Have not yet had the privilege of witnessing a series of ‘firsts’, being filled with joy and pride at each stride this little human takes. Staying up all night when they are ill. Learning their likes and dislikes. Drying their tears, bandaging their cut knees, brushing their hair. Only a parent can understand the abundance of love and joy that awakens in them when they receive the gift of a child. And too many have experienced that warm, active, vibrant light blown out.
- The BBC found that 65% of all people who face criminal proceedings for knife crime in London are from ethnic minorities, and 42% are black.
- Across England and Wales an incident involving a blade or sharp object takes place, on average, every 14 minutes.
- The Office for National Statistics said knife offences rose by 23 per cent in the capital – meaning it now has a higher murder rate than New York
- So far there have been over 45 murders in London in 2018
But why is this? Why are black youth (boys in particular) more likely to get caught up in senseless deaths?
A study, ‘Young People and Street Crime’, found that when social and economic factors were taken into account, race and ethnicity had no significance at all. Violent crimes tend to be more prevalent in poor areas, and since black people are disproportionately poorer, they are disproportionately affected by such crimes. It’s a class – not a racial or even a cultural matter. “When we took everything else into account, ethnicity dropped out of the model altogether,” said Marian Fitzgerald, a visiting professor of criminology at the University of Kent. The belief that particular races are inherently more violent is a dangerous train of thought which has historically led to grand racialised theories that have been of detriment to the dignity of our humanity e.g. Darwinism.
According to a Unison report, from 2010 to 2016 £387m was cut from youth services; between 2012 and 2016 a 603 youth clubs were closed. Additionally, a report by Sian Berry, a Green party member, found that in the last 5 years £28m was cut from council youth service budgets in London, resulting in the closure of 36 youth centres and a 48% cut in council youth service employment. It would be remiss to view such facts without remembering that stabbings are more likely to occur in urban areas, with London by far the most lethal, followed by Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
Lastly, I truly believe that if one lacks an understanding of who they are and the life they possess, they can never truly respect the life of another. There appears to be a daring nature amongst these young people, a fearlessness, ready to challenge anything or one who they perceive to be a threat to their pride or hindrance to their wants and desires. If this same level of resilience and stubbornness was directed into productive activities that had a positive impact on their lives, this generation would be un-stoppable. Whether in schools or at home, young people need to be empowered with the truth of their value and control in determining the course of their lives.