The Independent View: Not in my Name

The events of the last few days have been alarming and have raised many questions about our society. If you’re like me, you’re still trying make sense of the violence that we’ve seen in communities across England. As the leading independent voice for voluntary and community groups working with young people, my organisation has been inundated with calls and messages from our members expressing concern about the impact of the riots on young people, their image in the media and the programmes that are needed to support them.

There’s no escaping the fact that young people have been involved in the riots. Yet, the number of young people taking part is a tiny proportion of the overall youth population. Despite this, we’ve seen messages and quotes on social networks and on the mainstream media which have talked about events as youth riots perpetrated by young louts.

At NCVYS, we’re waiting and appealing for calm to allow for reflection over the causes for the scenes we have seen. We are not in a rush to claim we know why? There are no shortage of pundits offering causes, explanations and solutions on every news channel right now. But, in the meantime, we want to ensure that a strong message is sent out to the public reminding them that it’s not all young people taking part in the riots and the vast majority of young people are not represented by the actions of the few.

We’ve started a campaign using Facebook and Twitter to gather photos from young people who took no part in the riots. Each young person is holding up a sign that says #notinmyname and we’re posting the photos as they come in on a Facebook album which you can see here. We’re also tweeting the photos via our Twitter account. We’ve had over 60 photos uploaded to date and massive support on social networking sites.

It’s vital that the events of the last week are treated calmly and rationally but we will not stand by and let the good name of young people up and down the country be smeared. If you are under 25, work with young people or know a young person who’d like to take part in the campaign, please ask them to email a photo into [email protected], post it on our Facebook page or tweet to @ncvys (please note, we need parental consent from anyone under the age of 16).

Young people will play a vital role in restoring communities in the coming weeks. Help us share their positive voice by supporting our campaign.

On Twitter:
Please tweet: ‘11-25? Show that youth not all rioters. Support the @NCVYS #notinmyname campaign with your photo. Go to http://on.fb.me/oDDFvd

As a Facebook status message:
Only a tiny percentage of young people were involved in the riots on our streets. Support the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services #notinmyname campaign with a photo to show that majority of young people play a positive role in society. Go to http://on.fb.me/oDDFvd for more details

Faiza Chaudary is the Deputy Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.
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3 Comments

  • Stuart Mitchell 14th Aug '11 - 3:11pm

    An excellent initiative. Best of luck with it.

  • Yes, a very good initiative and I hope you have a lot of success.

    I hope you’re also thinking about ways to persuade young people it’s worthwhile voting. While not excusing the riots and looting, no one becomes alienated for no reason and successive governments have given whole sections of young people plenty of reasons to give up on society. And the behaviour of both those governments also has a reason – young people have the lowest turnout of any age group so addressing their concerns isn’t electorally profitable.

  • The news was showing young people out on the streets helping to tidy up the mess in the immediate aftermath.

    I liked that but I think the wider society also has a role to play. Not just in tidying up but by making a reasoned assessment of why it happened and how to stop it happening again.

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