Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hackney Tabloid September 2011‏

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hackney - 1 week on - Clarence Road Tea Party

Pictures credit: Tony Pletts

Tea Party with a difference

Clarence Road tea party has been organised by local residents. The hope is that people will get talking together, and begin to work on ways of taking the local community forward from the disruption of the disturbances.

There will be an opportunity for people to put up their views on ways forward in the future, on post-it notes on a board. The results of that will be fed back later. We are grateful for the support of the local Marks & Spencers shop in providing some of the refreshments and to Hackney Council for all their support.

Fr Rob Wickham, Rector of St John at Hackney, said: “We suggested the idea of an afternoon tea to bring the whole community, including local residents, businesses and faith communities, together exactly one week on from the Hackney riots.  Last week Clarence Road was a place of destruction, this week, I pray, Clarence Road will be a place of hopeful healing."

Sarah Pletts, of the Clapton Square User Group, said: “We all need to listen to one another and find out how we’re feeling about this area and how we can improve things. We have supported the Help Siva fund because his shop acts as place where everyone in the community can meet one another and he has been so helpful to so many people.“

Steve Lord, Chair of Pembury Tenants and Residents Association, said: “We welcome the street party. We have already had events this week on the estate to help people talk to one another and share any problems. This will help us to build up better relationships in the wider area and support our local shops.”

Siva Kandhia, shopkeeper, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been helping me and all the many people in the community who have given me their sympathy for what has happened and wished me well. My response is – I’ll be back and back soon!”

Ian Rathbone, Chair of the Friends of Siva group, said: “Our streets have been subjected to violent disorder with people subsequently not feeling safe. That is not right in a democratic society. So this is the first stage of ensuring that people do feel safe, and that they also feel listened to and have some ownership over what happens in their area.”

Meg Hillier, the local MP, said: “"This event shows the real spirit of Hackney. Just a week after the area was overwhelmed by violent disorder this event has been organised. The organising residents are here for the long haul. I now ask that the media leave us alone to get on and do what we do best and to sort out our own affairs. I must say thanks to all those involved in organising the street party and the Help Siva fund including Fr Rob Wickham and St John at Hackney for all their help with tables, volunteers and other things.”

Vincent Stops, local ward councillor, said: “The Pembury Estate is fine, there was very little damage to the fabric of the estate. The residents I know are resilient. There are a lot of good people on it who have been working hard to build up community. I am sure these disturbances will not hinder them from continuing their good work. I will be working with all residents to see what we can achieve in improving our community life.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Youth from Emashi share their thoughts on the Hackney disturbances...

Last week Hackney CVS hosted a meeting with Ed Miliband to talk about the reasons for last week's disturbances and what can be done. Here Adwoa and Djanomi from Emashi share with Hackney Unites their thoughts and plans they are making to bring communities together.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A message to the youth of Hackney

In the aftermath of the riot in Tottenham, and with the violence on the Narrow Way, we call on the youth of Hackney to show restraint and urge you not to get caught up in rioting.

We ask this because a riot is not good for you and it is not good for our community.

We know your anger:
• at the lack of education, training or jobs in the borough
• at the slim life chances that are afforded you;
• at the police who so often fail to protect young people, but who appear relentless in their determination to ensure that you ‘know your place’.

In a society that chooses not to respect you, participating in a riot can appear like an act of rebellion and a response to a complex series of problems: giving the police a hard time for once, and adopting the stereotypes of recklessness, criminality and brutality with which you are so often labelled.

However, a riot destroys what little we have in terms of our community assets, it also places the rioters, as well as bystanders at great risk.

The use of petrol bombs and the burning of buildings is not only devastatingly destructive to the institutions and businesses in our community. It puts peoples lives at risk. In Handsworth in 1985, two people died when trapped in their flat above a shop, in 2005 a similar tragedy occurred in the Lozells district of Birmingham. On Saturday night in Tottenham families with children had to flee through a burning building to escape.

Burning, destruction, and putting the lives of members of our community at risk is not the way to express your legitimate anger at being left behind in the boom years and expected to pay with your future when the economy crashed. You are capable of more imaginative and more effective ways of demanding economic and social justice.

You may feel that in the aftermath of a number of high profile deaths particularly from the black community in police custody, a riot is inevitable. But a riot is the response of those who have no alternative channel for their anger. In America, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, the black ghettos erupted. Yet, where the Black Panther Party organised, the most militant of black radical organisations, they called on the community not to riot, but to organise for justice. We urge you to do the same.

Finally, please consider the risks you are exposing yourself to. The police are sophisticated in tracking down rioters. CCTV cameras mean that you can be tracked; covering your face simply won’t protect you. The maximum prison terms for rioting is ten years and it is unusual for sentences for riot to be any less than five years. Even lesser offences of violent disorder receive very stiff penalties from the courts.

It is not just the risk of imprisonment: in 1981 during the Toxteth riot the police used vehicles driven at high speed into crowds to disperse them. One young man, not even involved in the disturbance, was killed when he did not move fast enough.

In this statement we have not joined the long list of politicians and police officers who race to condemn rioters, as if their own policies and failings were not a major ingredient in the toxic mix that creates the context in which riots occur. We have not pretended that you are ‘outsiders’ but have spoken to you as members of our community, who we want to remain in our community. Please do not let your anger blind you to the madness that is rioting.