In 2018 Peacemakers was successful in getting a grant from the Home Office from its Anti-Knife Community fund for a new project we have called Minus Violence Plus Peace. This project is preventative in nature, aimed at young people at risk of becoming involved in life threatening behaviour including gangs, knives and serious youth violence.
For this project we have worked with Ray Douglas and our very own facilitators, Anna Gregory and Mike Ogunnusi. As a project we have run:
- Assemblies to all year groups in chosen schools on the reality of knife crime.
- Parent sessions focussing on what the reality is, what the dangers are and how parents can try to safeguard young people against knives.
- 6 week courses with small groups of young people identified as being at risk of becoming involved in knife crime exploring many issues in depth involving knife crime.
- ‘Young People, Peace and Change’ Photography programme.
The aim of the 6 week courses and photography programme were to encourage young people to find their own voice around knives and knife crime as messages for peers or schools, or policy makers. To exhibit and discuss the young people’s messages we held a Peace Platform Event, where we brought together those involved in the 6 week courses and the photography programme. Our Peace Platform Event was a success, evoking thought-provoking discussions surrounding minus violence and plus peace.
As we prepare to start the next journey of this project we would like to share and celebrate the young people’s messages from the photography project which was delivered by Mike Ogunnusi. Please enjoy, discuss and share…
If you’re getting bullied, they will take advantage if you don’t do anything. It can affect your life, ruin your life, and make people think negative of themselves. Tell people to back off and to stop harassing you. I’ve seen a lot of people getting bullied in school. Those who haven’t spoken up have left. If you know someone whose getting bullied encourage them to speak up and be around. Tell them to talk to the safeguarding team (no-one uses the website).
When you have exams, your friends are not there to help you. Your friends don’t pay your bills. Start reflecting yourself rather than everybody else around you
Before there was less peace and more violence in school. Now it’s more immature behaviour. People trying to fake fights, screaming in the corridors, and people become sheep just following it around. Learn to become more mature and stop making such a big deal out of things. Stop taking things too far. Be safe.
This represents violence, where people have violence sorting out their problems. When you fight you can get injured, you can hurt yourself, and it’s a joint enterprise if you watch it.
When teachers think I’m going to be a badly-behaved student, I turn into a problem and then I have more incidents and more problems with teachers. I don’t understand why they just stick it on students. Some teachers are on a level, nice and chilled with you. Others show you attitude, trying to show authority. Like I’m the person in charge and if you don’t follow you’ll see what you get. I don’t understand why they act like that. What’s the point? We're kids at the end of the day. I would like their negative attitude to change, for them to be nicer and more understanding.
Elizabeth’s face always makes me happy when it’s on a note. It makes me happy and brings peace to me. People fight over money like drugs and knife crime but that doesn’t get my attention. I don’t have to get involved in other things to get money. Keep it legal.
This picture reminds me of myself: hope, darkness, parts missing. There’s hope in the light shining and darkness at the bottom. The darkness shows a lack of peace. It resembles sadness and anger. The light is hope, hoping for better and being happy. A peaceful feeling.
This is how kids are these days. That's how we are. People make assumptions about Alum Rock all the time. That's just the ends that we live on. Peace depends on what you're doing, it's different for everyone.
If you keep things to yourself it will lead to depression and other types of mental things and health problems. Peace means getting it out of your head, so you don’t have to worry about it. At least if someone knows, they can worry about you. They can talk to you.
When people take advantage, when people don’t listen, take a walk with no-one with you. Calm yourself down. You can feel peace again. There are other ways to calm down when you’re angry, this is one. Try it. It can stop things escalating. It can stop people killing each other.
My life is quite peaceful because I do my own thing. Calm down and have peace. Without peace the world will be corrupted and violence isn’t always the answer.
I have been stabbed. Weapons can take away a life from family and from friends, and if you get caught you’re going to get a sentence. In this area people do use weapons. Out of the blue something happens. You don’t expect it but it happens. Don’t carry a weapon if you have a problem use your hands. Don’t get involved in this kind of lifestyle.
Follow our Instagram to see more photographs and messages from the young people we have been working with as part of our Minus Violence Plus Peace Project.