Not the New Normal

“Oh no, not another one,”

“It’s happened again,”

And again.

And again.

And again.

15-year-old stabbed to death yards from school gates,

Business studies student stabbed to death near university halls,

Teenager stabbed in chicken shop,

16-year-old stabbed in the head yards from secondary school;

Teenager stabbed,

Teenager stabbed to death,

Young person stabbed,

Young person stabbed to death.

Stabbed,

Stabbed,

Stabbed,

Fills the headlines,

Not seeming to go away;

Increasing

Rather than decreasing,

Respect for life

Continuing to disintegrate.

Wielding knives somehow popular,

Knife crime and violent crime

On the rise;

What authorities have tried

Clearly not working,

Leaving more families

With crying eyes.

Too many precious lives

Stolen away in their prime,

Unable to fulfill their potential,

Get their full quota of time;

Yet somehow our society

Has become desensitized,

Barely batting an eyelid

At the loss of a young life,

As if it’s somehow normalised.

Nothing about it is normal,

Such violence is sick and sad,

Leading to further trauma,

Making our streets war zones,

Bleak and bad;

Time for society to snap out of it,

Click your fingers and wake up,

What happens to these young lives

Effects every one of us;

These are our communities,

Our streets,

Our voices for the future;

The more it increases,

The more it intensifies,

The more it draws nearer;

Getting closer to home,

Closer to your son

Or closer to your brother,

Because one day

It could be you looking up

Seeing your loved one in a newspaper.

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Poetic Insight: Moving Forward & Celebration

A month before the first youth forum in January 2016, I launched a short film that kick-started the youth platform that Young People Insight has evolved into.

It made perfect sense that the first birthday of Young People Insight would be celebrated with a night of poetry and spoken word, at the first Poetic Insight of 2017.  On January 17th the theme, Celebration & Moving Forward, resulted in a number of inspiring and thought-provoking pieces from some amazing young talent.

Not only was the theme a perfect fit for the occasion, but it was a perfect fit for quite a few of the performers, who were moving forward with their craft by performing their poetry in public for the first time.

dsc_0827Giving young people the opportunity to speak their mind through poetry and spoken word was the reason why I started Poetic Insight in the first place, so I was happy to learn that this platform had given them the chance to do that.  In spite of the nerves they may have had, their delivery was clear, their words strong and impactful.

One particular individual was Ashan, a last-minute addition to the schedule, who asked me to perform on the night.  She revealed that she was sharing her poetry with an audience for the first time and then went on to blow us all away, with poems on the subjects of mental health and Black Lives Matter.

First time performer Jack was first up on the mic, challenging our perception of success, while dsc_0834Tekisha Henry brought the house down to end the night, as she reminded us that we’re ‘A
Promising Generation’.  DanielWrites brought variety by reciting his spoken word accompanied by Joe on the keyboard and Authentic Alanie got into character to perform her spoken word.

Sh’kira, a member of the audience said: “It was so interesting to hear the different themes that people chose to speak on.  Also the different styles of spoken word was really great to hear.  It was also nice to hear people share their personal issues, like their mental health, and I think it was good that people felt that they were in a space to confidently share their issues, even with people they didn’t know.”

Every individual bought something different with their performance, making it a special night dsc_0820bursting with variety, so I want to take this time to thank Jack, Jennelle, Keshon, Alana, Daniel, Nyasha, Jamal, Lopez, Ashan, Aaron and Tekisha.  This night could not have happened and would not have been the same without you.

I want to end with a few words from one of the performers from the night, which perfectly articulate everything I want Poetic Insight to be.  Jamal says: “It’s so good to see that there’s a place young people can go to get something off their chest.  If there’s nothing like this then we would keep our emotions in and express it in negative ways.  Poetry is therapy.”

The next Poetic Insight will be on February 28th and the theme will be Love & Hate, so get writing now and if you want to perform, email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

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Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following@youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook.

 

Happy Birthday Young People Insight

My baby;

Born out of a time of confusion,

Searching for fulfillment,

Something better,

More special than I imagined

Came along.

Not what I planned,

Or expected,

It hit me by surprise;

But I knew I had to nurture it,

Feed it,

Give attention to it;

Although I didn’t ask for it,

Hadn’t planned for it,

I knew I wanted it,

Grew to love it;

In spite of the uncertainty,

Asking,

How would I do this?

Help and advice would be a necessity

For every step of this journey;

I knew I could do it.

So I took the first step,

Second step forward,

Bringing my baby to life;

Watching it develop,

Month after month,

More insight coming to mind.

Now my baby

Has turned a year old,

I can’t believe the first birthday is here;

Directions have changed,

Thought processes become clear

And new people in my life I’ve drawn near.

I’m excited to see

What this next year will bring

As my baby grows to new heights;

More young people to reach,

More voices to be heard,

But now I simply say,

Happy Birthday Young People Insight.

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Empowering Youth Voice Through Writing

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I held the first Young People Insight forum and determined the basis of Young People Insight, moving the blog forward to a physical youth platform and a developing youth community in Croydon.

Looking back, I feel proud to have held eleven youth forums that have given young people the opportunity to freely speak out and feel listened to, as well as a poetry night that gave young people a platform to speak their mind through poetry.

However, as the first birthday approaches, I feel that I have not spent enough time encouraging young individuals to make their voice heard through writing, which is the initial reason why I started Young People Insight in the first place.

There have been some amazing, inspiring stories shared on the blog, but I feel that there can be more and I would love to see more appearing on the blog over the next year.  As well as more stories being shared, I would also like to see opinion pieces, reviews and news content created for the blog.

A variety of authentic youth voices can be powerful and interesting to read, and I believe that giving young people the opportunity to have their writing published is a necessity.  Everyone has the ability to write and I want young individuals to see that, buying into the potential that they have.

Writing is going to be a key element of empowering youth voice this year, so if there is a piece you would like to write or if you know any young person who would like to write, please email be at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Unsplash and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo by Unsplash and used under Creative Commons License.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following@youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook.

 

Celebrating Our 1st Birthday at Poetic Insight

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This month will be a year since I started holding youth forums as part of Young People Insight, transitioning from simply being a blog and officially kicking off the youth platform.  Celebrating our first birthday will coincide with Poetic Insight, our first event of the year and the first of our monthly poetry nights.

Poetic Insight will give young poets an opportunity to showcase their talent, while speaking their mind and making their voices heard.  This is another avenue for your young people to have their say, rather than simply coming to the forums, as not everyone articulates their thoughts and views in the same way.

The theme for this month’s Poetic Insight will be ‘Celebration and Moving Forward’, and it will be taking place on January 17th in Matthews Yard.  Doors open at 7pm, with performances starting at 7.15pm and the event concluding at about 9pm.

There are still opportunities for young poets to perform on the night, so if you want to share your poetry or perform spoken word, email me on shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or call 07910092565.

This is a free event that you won’t want to miss, so get ready for a night of inspiring poetry.  Let us know you’re coming by getting your tickets for Poetic Insight here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetic-insight-celebration-moving-forward-tickets-30953595036?utm_term=eventname_text