Photos: Anwar Suliman
Since the tragic death of Jonathan many young people have expressed their feelings of sadness, grief and loss. Streetworx, Burngreave Youth Council and The Messenger have gathered some young people’s feelings, views and ideas for the future.
What do you feel about what happened to Jonathan?
“I’m kinda upset, we used to play football in the area together.”
“I used to enjoy pulling weights with him.”
“He was well known because he was a rapper, he used to really like it, but the rap was not about gangs or anything but just things he liked.”
“We feel safe on the streets because we know people, but its always better to know people who are on the streets.”
“Everyone has problems – the end solution is not always the same.”
“Nothing’s being done about it. There have been three murders, the police need to do something.”
What are your views on the issues surrounding the tragedy?
“Youths I think are looking for rep, they want a reputation and it starts in their own area.”
“Violence is common in a lot of places, because guns are not hard to get, all you need is the right contacts.”
“In the past it was much worse, there were lots of gang fights, but now people still do it but they do it on the ‘low,’ as the police are really watching the area.The police would stop you if they see you in the night, they do stop you for no reason most of the time.”
“Not everyone comes to the youth activities, and many don’t really want to be part of a gang.”
“The police are putting pressure on Burngreave to calm it down, but we don’t trust the police. We like wardens better.”
“We get let down by people, they say stuff is going to happen and then it doesn’t.”
“Cannot stop violence in the future, we need more better role models first. There are not many role models for many youths.”
“We’re not in a gang, we just hang around together.”
“How are they getting their guns?”
“They look up to the wrong people.”
“They are playing at being gangsters.”
“Its because of where they live – they need to get out and get different friends.”
“We’ll just stay away from them. It’s only if you get involved in that kind of thing that bad things happen – but drugs are everywhere.”
“New Deal started the divides because if you lived at Carwood you lived in Pitsmoor, you lived on Rock Street you lived in Pitsmoor, but since New Deal there is now a Burnwood, Burnbank and Burngrove. They started the Zone thing.”
“The big sign near the roadworks says ‘PITSMOOR’, the council call it this, why are you so ashamed?”
“Bored, nothing to do.”
“Why am I socially excluded because I’m black?”
What do you think needs to happen now for young people?
“More apprenticeships for young people at risk or without qualifications (paid training).”
“More needs to be done about exclusion; this does not solve the problem.”
“More job and training opportunities for young people without qualifications.”
“Stop hassling young people in groups more than two, as these are stereotyped: ‘If they’re black they’re in a gang, if they’re white they’re a group.’”
“Give us a chance.”
“What’s going to happen after the shooting – all them meetings?”
“More sports activities in the area opened in peak times.”
“We look up to our older brothers, they need to change. My brother’s really clever though, he’s going to be a lawyer.”
“We would like better facilities in the public park because we can’t really do much there.”
“Young people should be consulted on who gets New Deal money for projects.”
“More funding for youth clubs or activities.”
Comments from Reach High 2 Study Support, Burngreave after School Study Support and Streetworx.