HC 1456 Home Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Mothers Against Violence, Fathers Against Violence and Carisma

After the riots – what’s next? Youth speaks out!

Hosted by Mothers Against Violence (MAV), Fathers Against Violence (FAV), Carisma.

Summary of points raised by young people at meeting held on 1 September 2011.

Young people from Chorlton, Levenshulme, Moss Side, Old Trafford, Fallowfield areas of Manchester.

Q: What is your opinion of the media portrayal of the recent disturbances in Manchester?

A:

Some young people did not see the news, just pictures of Miss Selfridges on fire.

The news only shows what they want other people to believe, there were predominantly young people being shown but older people took part also.

The news made things look worse than it was, for example one window smashed in the Arndale Centre but the news made it look as if the whole of Manchester city centre had been smashed up, and this made me angry.

“If I went to the disturbances, I would have been classed as being involved just because of how I dress”, if there were a group of black youths and white youths, the police would target the black youths, there was a campaign on Facebook saying it was not just black kids involved in the riots.

Reports on the news kept referring to “1976” but didn’t explain what happened in 1976.

Young person told by elders if they were demonstrating against the police the elders would have helped them.

When people look back historically all that will be seen is black youths being involved in the violence.

The riots started in London which has a higher proportion of black people so it would look as if it was mainly black youths involved. There were no black kids involved in the Salford disturbances and this wasn’t shown as much, outside communities would think it was just black kids in Manchester involved in the disturbances.

A number of young black youth went to look but the media made it look like they were involved.

Q: Apparently the riots were sparked form a young man being shot by police in London and footage of a young girl being beaten by the police is this good enough a reason for the riots?

A:

There was no reason Manchester should have got involved, ego made people take part, nothing to do with people who died or were beaten.

Makes no difference if sentences are harsh because people don’t think you’re going to get caught.

If I had shot someone my face would have been all over the news, why wasn’t the police officer who shot the man in London shown all over the news?

Q: How do we progress and move forward and make our community safer?

A:

More black politicians are needed to represent us (it was pointed out that MAV, FAV and Carisma will support any young person to do this) it is not out of our reach, you just need to want to change and say this is what I want to happen.

More black role models, I can’t think of any role models in my area. We could set up a website or have facilities showing black heritage history showing positive things for us to access.

I have a strong mind I could have gone and taken part, if it was on my mind it would have been on others minds.

Q: How do we move respond to these disturbances?

A:

The best way to share news is social networking, letters but word of mouth is the best way to pass on a message.

Young people will organize the next meeting MAV, FAV and Carisma will facilitate the venue etc., young people will network to get participants for next meeting.

Other points raised by the young people:

The police didn’t deal with the situation in the right way.

It’s wrong that parents get evicted, if someone chooses to take part it’s not their parents faults, it’s an individual choice to get involved.

We can’t all be Di Vinci or Einstein, some young people want to be rappers or footballers. I want to be a footballer but my teachers have told me I need a plan B, so divide my dream 50/50 I don’t want to do that, I want to give it 100%, we should be encouraged to follow our dream and if you put your mind to it you can achieve it. Alan Sugar had no qualifications but he is a multi-millionaire.

Young people’s contact details given, support and facilitation of next meeting to be decided by young people and networking for participants in next meeting.

September 2011

Prepared 22nd December 2011