Respected Lord King, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is an honour to have this opportunity to share some thoughts on the issue under discussion at this prestigious venue.
As you know, the topic for discussion is Family and Gangs. At first glance, you might think there could not possibly be any connection between those two. In fact, you might say that nothing could be more opposite than family and gangs. And yet, if we ask ourselves why a young person would want to join a gang, we may find many are motivated by a desire to experience some things that they feel are missing from their lives – the kinds of things that only a family can provide.
Cllr. Liaquat Ali MBE JP. Cabinet member Community Safety & Cohesion, explained the anti-gang strategy and work in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in a meeting hosted by Lord King of West Bromwich and organised by the Universal Peace Federation - UK, in the House of Lords on November 28th.
'Waltham Forest has developed a highly successful programme for encouraging gang members out of gangs. Our gang project help those who are deeply entrenched in gang culture, those who are most at risk of joining gangs and those who are affected by their family members' destructive choices. Uniquely, the programme works with the whole family and attempts to address the many different factors that can draw people towards a life of crime. We work with skills and employment opportunities, with education, but working with the gang members' families is a highly significant factor in the success of our efforts.'
A powerful call was issued to protect our children from the prevalence of ever increasing sexualisation, through asserting our rights as parents and taking a stand against forces which aim to corrupt young and innocent minds. Speaking at a conference on "Defending Morality: Countering Secularism", held at the Peace Embassy, Thornton Heath, on 20 November, John O'Neill, coordinator of the Morality Forum, drew attention to parents' rights to view sex educational materials shown at schools and referred to existing legislation which mandates that marriage and moral values should be included as part of sex education.
House of Lords, November 28th, 2011
One Monday night there was a look at the importance of family background in the prevention of gangs and gang related crimes. A powerful testimony was recounted by Narraser Rochelle Gordon who has a wide experience of strong family roots through her grandparents, of dysfunctional parental role models, of gang culture and the tragedy of gun and knife violence. She joined STOP, Solve This Ongoing Problem, a group that encourages gang members to leave gangs and a way of violence. It has been her passion to lead her peers to avoid the tragedy that she has seen too often. Other testimonies of gang membership followed by life changing experiences were given by Adam Nazar and Quince Garcia.