Campaigning has become daily routine for me. I now know that no matter what my job is and where I am in the world it'll always be something I'm proud to be involved in and that motivates me. Often campaigning is seen as another 9am-5pm job, when really it's just about coordinating passion and channelling it at things you'd like to see change with the time and resources you have. In 2014, it's never been easier to campaign on issues that you're passionate about. It doesn't need to be a sophisticated event, like a more traditional protest, it could just be a twitter campaign or a petition to raise awareness and get the attention of decision makers and the general public.
I started campaigning at the age of 11 with my local youth council. I wasn't very keen at first but after my first meeting it was clear I was excited about seeing and influencing positive change in my local area. Whether it was more buses for the local schools who used the 71 bus route, shaping local youth services and priorities or influencing more engagement between the police and young people I knew there were things in my local area I wanted to change and develop.
A small interest soon became a passion, and before I knew it I was involved pioneering the 'Bridge the Gap campaigning, which was a series of events bringing together front line and senior officers from across the borough together with young people to discuss all the burning issues, like stop and search which is still an issue in London today.
After 7 years of campaigning for change in my local area, I was elected by peers to become a member of the Procedures Group on behalf of the London youth representatives with the UK Youth Parliament & British Youth Council. It was there I had the pleasure of supporting hundreds of young people who were just as passionate, if not more passionate, about being catalysts for changing in their local communities.
Within this role I met Jeremiah Emmanuel, who later on went to inform me of his vision to see young Londoners come together to forge a coalition of organisations and young leaders who find a solution to an issue that had been plaguing the streets of the capital for years: youth violence. I was immediately sold by his vision, it was very evident to me that youth violence and gangs had been an issue for years, yet nothing significant seemed to have changed. Since that day I've worked tirelessly to shape policy and the front line services that currently affect violence and gangs in London, knocking on every door and talking to anyone who is prepared to listen.
My next goal is currently ploughing through Sounding Out London, a youth-led consultation looking into the root causes of manifestation of youth violence. Now most people will think of just the police and young people in this situation but it's much bigger than that. It's become evident to us that employment, mental health, education, materialism and all sorts of other issues are playing a huge role in what we're seeing on the streets of London.
The quest for finding solutions has started, and I'm looking forward to bringing together all of London to remind everyone what Chief Superintendent John Sutherland said last year "It's a whole-society problem that demands a whole-society solution".
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