And in relation to young people, too. Is it fairness young people want or is it social justice? Or more opportunities? Or to have their say in affairs that will ultimately affect them?
I am not young anymore, but I tell you something, I had it rough when I was growing up, a pale comparison to what children and young people go through today.
For me, there’s nothing nostalgic about my youth.
There were days we couldn’t afford to go to school. I got beaten, I got knives pointed at me. I got stoned (with rocks, not the chemical), spat on, had fireworks shoved through the letterbox at our family home. I had a father who had an addiction to gambling and was not soft with his hand, who would tell me to look in the mirror and repeat ‘I am a man a hundred times’, as if that’s what makes a man. I am still in a quandary about what it does mean to be a man.
I’ve been in care for nine months and hated it.
Too much? Is it making you uncomfortable yet?
I won’t tell you about the failings of the youth service when I was in their care, not ready to.
My school closed down a few years after I left, the GSCE pass rate was 20% and by pass, I mean G grades.
As if grades mattered when putting up with all this crap that is going on around me.
I think of myself as lucky, and for turning out the way I did.
I didn’t ask for any of it. All I asked for was the chance to just get on with it and be young, have opportunities and above all for people around me to give a s*** about me.
This has nothing to do with my mum or my sister, they stayed strong where I could not. As trying as it was for them, they did right by me.
In comparison to what young people go through today, frankly, it does not compare. From central government to local government, there is no one with the vision to do what’s right by young people.
In Hackney, the cuts hit an already stretched youth service hard. The worst is yet to come and it’s women, children and young people that will be hit the hardest.
Against such a cold government, who slashes and burns thinking that’s what will make the economic wheel turn.
Against such a disconnected Council, where the Mayor of Hackney thinks it’s ok for the Mayor of London to invest the town renewal fund of £5.3m after the riots for a fashion hub. Bring on the further divide of the haves and have nots.
Why did this town renewal not go to something that is inter-generational and multi-cultural?
Does Hackney need fashion when people tell me they can only afford to eat twice a day. Feed their children twice a day.
Hackney folk, both young and old, don’t want to be one of the two London Boroughs who are in the top 5% of deprivation, the second being Newham.
Hackney people don’t want to live in housing that is above the national average of overcrowding rates.
Young people in Hackney do not need to be ‘told off’ for taking affirmative action and doing something that brings them together to have a good time, as young people should, with the Austeristy Games.
This makes me angry, everything that’s happened to me and 15 years on nothing has changed. What do I do with this anger, well I write and I ask you to read and to see what those in power don’t want you to see.
There are massive problems and inequalities in Hackney. I just wish someone could stand up for people in Hackney, instead doing all these PR exercises.
I hope you can be one of those people who stands firm and speaks truth to power.
Come forward and help volunteer on a campaign for young people – by speaking to them and getting them actively involved in all aspects of decision making and to link in with other youth led organisations that do amazing work in Hackney already.
To do so, e-mail me on email@example.com.