Weapon of Choice

Don’t you find it confusing,

That what was once a cooking utensil,

Sometimes a utility tool,

Is now a lethal weapon?

A weapon of choice for young men,

Wanting to intimidate,

Inflict violence,

Cause pain.

Instead of using their voice box

To talk,

The blade now becomes

The voice of reason.

Instead of being shiny and beautiful,

Silver has become a colour

Connected to violence

And death.

Sometimes the cold sharp blade

Slashes or cuts,

Leaving the victim lucky

With just a permanent scar;

But there are the times

When it will slice through

A little deeper,

Penetrate an artery or puncture an organ,

Leaving the victim not only with a scar

But a time of death.

Because with that weapon in their hand

They feel big,

They feel strong,

They’ve got power pumping through their veins;

Without realising that blade

Isn’t a part of them,

That they alone

Will have to deal with the punishment,

The consequences,

The hurt faces of family and friends,

But that knife they held

In the palm in their hands

Will still be completely free.

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A Call to Get Involved

Today I’m going to do something a little different.  This post is a call out to you, all my young people, asking you to share, share, share and speak out on Young People Insight as it moves forward.

I love writing and delving deeper into the issues effecting young people, or telling the stories of inspiring young people doing amazing things.  However, I want there to be more from other young people, more posts of you telling your stories in your own words.

I want Young People Insight to be more than just one or two young people writing, but I want there to eventually be hundreds of young people writing.  Your authentic writing and inspiring truths will make a big difference and tell the stories the media hide or fail to tell us.

Consider the stories you could tell, think about what is important to you and express what changes you would make to better your community.  Once you have your idea, get in contact and send your post over to me.  I promise, the only thing I will change are grammatical errors, as I want to post raw, honest pieces that show the real you.

You can get in contact by the Twitter handle, @YPInsight, the Facebook page, Young People  Insight, or by emailing me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

So please, get involved and share, share, share.

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Changing the Perception of Young People

This week, I was shocked and disgusted when I saw the headline about a teenager caught on CCTV punching an 87-year-old woman in the face on a bus.  I was then disappointed and slightly taken aback by the story of two teenage girls ripping down a poppy display, just hours before Remembrance Day.

The blatant lack of respect and disregard shown by these teenagers is astounding and infuriating to a young person like myself, who wants young people to be seen in the best possible light.  However, news stories like this, alongside all of the reported stabbings, violent crimes and other acts of antisocial behaviour make it difficult to change the perceptions of young people.

Lack of respect among young people is a major concern, shown by the worrying level of disrespect they have their elders, their peers and ultimately for themselves.  In fact, it seems to get worse as the generations get younger, which leaves me fearful for the future, particularly as young individuals seem to have a warped idea of what respect should look like.

Yet isn’t it up to us to attempt to educate them about what respect really is, ingraining it in their mind when they are at home, school or even during extracurricular activities.  Encourage young people to learn about each other, gain an understanding of their backgrounds, communicate efficiently and respect boundaries.  If they build up more positive relationships, there is bound to be a greater level of respect.

Image by johnhain and used under Creative Commons License.
Image by johnhain and used under Creative Commons License.

It is also important to consider how we portray young people and also what labels we give them.  The two stories I mentioned are extremely negative and bound to spark some strong, heated reactions, but isn’t this often the case when young people are concerned?

Too often, the media report stories that paint young people in a negative light, without counteracting this with the positives, when there are a whole lot of young people doing positive things with their lives.  I’m sure that the majority of young individuals are not caught up in violent crimes or antisocial behaviour; in fact, many young people have the ability to inspire others.

If young people are consistently painted in a negative light or are told by those around them that they will fail and amount to nothing, it comes as no surprise that some of them will start to believe that is who they are and live a life to fit that role.  Those negative reports start to seep into their mind, until that is all they see, and suddenly they choose to follow suit.

Perhaps being able to see more of the inspiring and positive news stories will encourage them to make better choices, as seeing what one young person does might make them think that they have the ability to do it too, especially if they’ve come from their area.

We have to start getting out there and making a better name for ourselves though.  It’s time for young people to stand up and let their lights shine, letting the world see the amazing individuals they are.  It’s time for the young to start showing more respect, to others and also to themselves.  But more than that, it’s time for the media to stop vilifying the youth and cancel out the negative stories with the positives.

Let’s make it happen, because it can be done.

 

Cold Pavement

Powerful piece on knife crime by fellow young blogger, Naiya, who is dedicated to spreading awareness through writing.

You can follow her on Twitter, @OpinionsOfNaiya

opinionsofnaiya

How did I end up here?

On this cold pavement, on this cold night, it might be summer but it doesn’t feel right.

Did I get into a fight?

I don’t know what happened, all I know is that I’m laying on this cold pavement.  I can smell the cold air, I can feel warm hands. 

Why is she saying that I’ve been stabbed?

Am I bleeding, bleeding fear?

I’m unsure and I don’t understand. I want to go home now, this cold pavement is uncomfortable. Help me up, make me stand, I want to stand.  

Is that the ambulance or the police sirens filling my ears?

If it’s the police can they take me home so that I can hug my mum?

Everything is dark, I’m trying to open my eyes but I can’t.

“CAN YOU HEAR ME?”

Who are you?

Of course I can hear you, just…

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