Should young people have to take action for their own empowerment?

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We Rise were commissioned by Footwork to make this film for the London Festival of Architecture. We Rise partnered with local youth club Knights Youth Centre and worked with a small group of thoughtful and articulate young people aged 13-17 to explore what actions are needed to shape a positive future for them.

Thiaran, Olivia, Jaimie and Eden who are growing up on estates around Clapham Park want to tell you about how much power they feel they have as young, black South Londoners and how that positions them in society:

We can see the way out of the life around us and believe that with determination anything is possible – we are ambitions. But we see people around us  who are limited and trapped by their immediate environment.

We also see a combination of peer pressure, not being determined enough, a lack of good role models and not realising the consequences, means that both girls and boys easily get drawn into gang culture.

“What you are around is what you become”. Eden

But who’s going to ‘act’ to make the changes?

We can see that the people in power aren’t doing enough.

“…they can’t relate to people like us. They come from affluent backgrounds. They’re out of touch with the real world” – Thiaran.

We don’t feel or see that they are listening to us and are not acting on what we tell them.

“All the issues that are building up in communities today will end up being the big problems that they will have to face in the future” – Olivia. “If they just tackle it now and listen to young people then they will be able to prevent a lot of bad things happening in the future”

So we need to act ourselves.

“The adults that are there now, they haven’t done it and they won’t do it”

“That’s what this generation needs to wake up and understand. We need to work hard, stay in education, get our qualifications and then be the person who makes the change”


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