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Issue 28, February 2003.

   
     

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Stop the Violence
by Rob Smith

A meeting took place on 13th January at the SADACCA Day Centre in response to the rise in violence affecting our community. The recent fatal shooting on Spital Hill, combined with another, of a man with close ties to this community, has raised major concerns.
I expected a stormy meeting and for things to somehow get out of control.

Over sixty members of Sheffield’s black and Caribbean community were in attendance. The meeting was chaired by Milton Samuels and attended by a panel consisting of police and high-profile members of major community organisations. “The voice of this community has made it clear,” said Ruggy Johnson, “calling on the authorities to divert young people from gun crimes and to stop the supply of drugs.”

What are the grass root causes of violence?
This question prompted many responses from those attending. Levi Roberts, rising to his feet, passionately reminded us of the many social inequalities that we all know and have lived with since so many of us can remember.

Stand up and be counted
Superintendent Brennon’s recent radio statement suggesting he’d spoken to and consulted with leaders and representatives of our community was challenged. People wanted to know exactly who these community leaders were, again inadvertently highlighting one of our present problems.

Superintendent Brennon, unable to name any reps or leaders he’d spoken to, only adds fuel to criticisms of statutory agencies, paying lip service to the community and giving misleading messages.

People felt angry and one spoke out about the centrally affected generation, who, as always, weren’t present. I listened as speaker after speaker let out their grievances and reasons why they believe things are the way they are today. I chose my time before voicing my own opinion.

“It is a fact that we have already lost one generation, but that does not mean we must falter again, get waylaid, and lose another.”

(More comment on the following pages) >

 

Flowers outside a door.
Picture courtesy of The Star.
   
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