100 Black Men of London wish to extend our sincere condolences to all families who have been directly affected by the recent acts of violence in our community.
Whilst many people look to apportion blame, we seek to encourage those who truly care about the plight of our youth, to take action. This is not a time for hand-wringing, but for sober reflection allied with definitive action. We all have a part to play in keeping our children safe. As this is first and foremost a community issue, we need a community response. It is also a public health issue, a crime and order issue, and a government policy issue, all requiring measured, determined focused responses.
This is not a time for knee-jerk reactions or sticking plasters on a dam; with 50 murders in London so far this year and London has overtaken New York for homicides for the first time ever, we need real solutions that make a proven difference. This requires all parts of the community working together. Previous uncoordinated measures have not worked because they have been isolated fingers when what we require is a clenched fist.
The 100 Black Men of London is, therefore, calling for the following measures to be immediately taken:
1. Parents need to work together in a coordinated manner to identify issues affecting teenagers in London today. There should be parenting forums in every borough in London where concerns are raised in safe spaces, parenting strategies and coping mechanisms shared. Organisations that have a track record or special competence in delivering these kinds of programmes should be encouraged to work together and provided with the required resources to undertake this.
2. Renewed effort must be placed in creating pathways for dialogue with Young people across the city. This should be in the form of both preventative and restitutive measures. Programmes that support, mentor and positively challenge young people should be better supported, promoted and made accessible. Every borough should have its safe spaces for such positive interactions.
3. Following from the above, the Mayor should mandate each borough to urgently review its provision of youth facilities and where these have been decimated or are inadequate, he should directly fund their immediate restoration.
4. Our children need hope for their future – a review of career advice, apprenticeship schemes, entrepreneur/business management classes is required, which will actively involve local businesses and interested entrepreneurs, to engage young people.
5. The Metropolitan Police should seek to work closely with communities to identify criminal activities especially with regards to drugs and substance abuse. This crisis will not be solved by escalating stop and search as an isolated measure but has to be intelligence-led and targeted. We need the gang-bangers off our streets!
6. Our community should adopt a zero-tolerance approach to the culture of silence around murderous criminal activity. Not informing on known murderers and their accomplices are simply leaving them free and increasingly emboldened to go and slaughter another young life.
7. Social media outlets should cooperate with the community and authorities to immediately report and close down gangs, drugs and violence-espousing forums, chat rooms and other such group activity.
8. As an organisation of Black men, we especially call for all concerned positive Black men to be seen making a stand against this situation. We should work together, hold each other up, support one another to recognise that each child out there is our child. Starting from the inside-out in our homes and reinforced ‘outside–in’ in our communities, we need to be concerned ENOUGH to do something. Your presence is as required as your presents: you don’t need to start anything new, simply join up with existing organisations to increase their immediate capacity.
Complaining from the comfort of our sofas no longer cuts it – our community needs us! This is, of course, a non-exhaustive list and the 100 Black Men of London stands ready to work with all interested and committed parties to find solutions to this sorry situation. What we cannot and none of us should tolerate is the inevitable cacophony of naysayers and doom merchants seeking to complain while proffering no solutions or worse still, seeking to profit from the misery of this spate of violence. It is our real hope that we can seize this moment to make a real difference and save the lives of our children. Too many families are mourning right now – enough is enough.
About 100 Black Men of London We are a Black male member-led organisation formed in 2001. We are an international Chapter of 100 Black Men Of America Inc, of which there are over 100 Chapters globally. Our focus is on Mentoring, Education, Economic Empowerment, Health & Wellness and Leadership Development. Based at UCL, our interactive free fortnightly Community Mentoring Programme is aimed at boys and girls aged 10- 17 years and their parents. We cover topics designed to arm children with life skills to help them better navigate the challenges they face as they grow into adulthood so that they can make better choices and influence their peers. Alongside this, our Parent Programme arms parents with strategies to assist their children in all topic areas and develop better understanding of what their children are facing: Self-identity, Effective Communication, How to succeed at school, Healthy Relationships, Goal Setting, Stop and Search and Positive Police Interaction, Drug and Substance Misuse, Family Roles and Responsibilities, and Money Management, are just ‘some’ of the topics we cover in our interactive group sessions.
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