With the continuous reports of knife crime and youth violence, public awareness and youth centred organisations or initiatives are growing in importance. These are necessary to not only prevent violent youth crimes, but also to engage the young people of this generation.
The One Minute in May campaign was set up to “confront the ever-growing threat of knife and gun crime.” It was started by Tracy Cumberpatch in 2006 (with the help of Wayne Campbell) in remembrance of her 15-year-old son, Kiyan Prince, who lost his life after being stabbed while trying to break up a fight in May 2006.
Tracy intended to have a one minute’s silence in May, the month that her son passed away. However, she was unable to maintain the running of the campaign, which meant that it was put on hold, until 2013, when it was revived by Bilal Awan and Wayne Campbell. One Minute in May is not only in remembrance of Kiyan Prince, but all of the young people who have lost their lives to gun and knife crime in the UK.
However, it goes further than the minute of silence – the campaign aims to educate children about the dangers of violent crime in various ways, particularly through the use of film, in a bid to reach out to the “media savvy” young generation.
One Minute in May will commence with a major football event, which will be filmed as part of a documentary that will also be part of the campaign. They aim to get all of the Premier League and Championship football clubs to “hold a minute’s silence, applause, balloon release or whatever they feel appropriate” during one day in the season, to honour the young lives lost to violent crime.
Although they would like to branch out into other major sports leagues in the future, football is currently a major element of their campaign, because Kiyan was an aspiring football player with a bright future ahead of him.
The documentary will be made for TV broadcasting and distribution in schools, to reach a wider group of young people. One Minute in May believes “education is a key preventative measure if children are to benefit from the message of the campaign’s film”.
According to One Minute in May team member Indya Oates: “Education for us isn’t just about going to school and getting good grades… Education helps spot potential talents, help create guidance for their future and keep them occupied with positive things.”
The documentary will follow Bilal as he tries to gain a clear understanding of why knife and gun crime exists. He also hopes to enlist the help of football clubs, along with family members from around the country who have lost a loved one to gun or knife crime. They will be visiting a number of high-profile clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Liverpool.
One Minute in May also plans to launch a schools film initiative to “explore issues around socially conscious behaviour”. It will involve children from each of the 32 London boroughs being split into groups and making short films dealing with youth crime, over the period of one month.
Eventually, the winning films from each borough (or top ten) will be screened and the best overall film will be chosen by the Mayor of London and given the title of ‘Schools Short Festival Winner’.
The children involved in this scheme will learn valuable skills in production and post production, as well as learning about core values, street safety and street awareness, in a fun way that will allow them to express their creativity.
The support of young people for One Minute in May has been generally good, although the team has found it quite difficult to get support for their campaign.
Indya says: “I believe that the reason for the lack in support is because [young people] are either currently in a difficult situation due to wrong choices themselves, or know of someone… and therefore , publicly supporting a campaign like this would be quiet contradictory.” However, she has expressed that there a lot of young people that they still want to reach out to.
It has been upsetting for Indya to see such high rates of crime in the UK, especially because much of it is due to young people hurting their own. She believes that young people can work together to prevent knife crime, firstly by learning to love themselves and then one another.
Indya said: “There is definitely a lack of love & unity going on at the moment, and everyone is divided. Our younger generation have developed this mentality of standing alone, dropping people out, not creating new friends, thinking that they must do things on their own and don’t need anyone, as if it’s a good thing.
“…In reality what they are doing is segregating each other, creating this mindset of isolation and ultimately creating division instead of realising their similarities & differences and how amazing they can become if they stood together.”
One Minute in May‘s minute of silence will take place on the May 1st, so spread the word and get others involved in this special campaign. As Indya says: “Young people are our future and we need to give them that support.”