This blog is all that remains from the former website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Friday, 23 March 2012

99% Campaign Blog: Promoting a positive image of young people


And we have lift off... 

The 99% Campaign Blog has been launched, and it's opening month has already brought with it fiery debate about the discriminatory effects of 'stop and search' practices, questions raised around the purpose of higher education, and a remarkable showcase of art produced by young offenders.

The 99% Blog is a journalistic platform written and run entirely by young people. This format ensures that young people are able to discuss issues that bear directly on their own lives, countering the fact that young people often find themselves marginalised and muted on the issues they are most affected by. The Blog also acts to challenge prevailing stereotypes about young people, and the kind of negative coverage that we often find littered throughout the mainstream media.

Below you can get a preview of some of this month's content, and you can add this blog to your RSS feedhere, or subscribe to the blog to receive regular updates on our home page here...

*All views expressed in this article are the author’s. IARS accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any views expressed in these articles and will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or any losses or damages arising from its display or use. 
The real world effects of 'stop and search'

Amongst public discussion of the different merits and drawbacks of 'stop and search' tactics, one voice has been consistently missing; namely the young people who find themselves on the receiving end of these measures.

99% journalist Monique Lane provides a biting critique of 'stop and search', on both moral and practical grounds, generating a debate which is still bubbling away in the comments section.

The article takes issue with the discriminatory way in which stop and search has been applied, and the common refrain that people who aren't on the wrong side of the law have nothing to worry about. As Monique notes, "Being stopped and searched by the police is embarrassing and humiliating. It usually happens in public, so anyone watching assumes that you’ve done something wrong... Whilst researching, I discovered that black people are seven times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by the police."

Read more here.
What prisoner arts programmes can teach us about ourselves

Volunteer journalistIsabel Chapman offers a fascinating, and very telling look at a range ofart produced by offenders; and glimpses some of the implications this has for the way we view punishment, rehabilitation, and criminality.

"The prevalent sense of release and freedom in the majority of the work was undeniable; from the paintings inspired by biblical references to the songs and poetry inspired by the artist’s own, often harrowing, experiences. Escapism is depicted in images of funfairs, beaches and a childlike model of a wizard’s house."

Having pointed out the therapeutic and rehabillatory effects of these programmes, Isabel goes on to ask why they make so many of us feel unconfortable, noting other important side benefits. "Not only does the work aim to encourage artists or participants to reassess their own capabilities, self-worth and the future, but as we visit such exhibitions as outsiders, we are provided with a very small insight into the fascinating, stark reality of custody. There is an enormous amount we can also learn from the misconceptions of offenders and detainees."

Read more here. ..
Get involved!

We are looking for young people to write articles, news stories and opinion pieces that will seek to promote the positive contributions that young people make to society, and cover issues that bear directly on young people lives. For more information click here, or
"Unpaid internships do nothing to help social mobility"

..Or so goes the claim made by volunteer journalist Manon, in herpiece on the exploitative nature of full time, unpaid internships.

Manon first reflects on her experience trying to find paid work in Parliament, which she was told would be unlikely unless she was willing to work without pay for six months, before looking what this means for our idea of equal opportunity. "I fear that many graduates from less affluent backgrounds, as well as those already burdened with thousands of pounds of student debt, cannot afford to take advantage of these opportunities." Small wonder, she argues, positions in Parliament are drawn from such a narrow, priviliged sector of society.

The article also looks at the story of those who manage to gain an internship, and the way they are so often misled into expecting a paid position at the end, and then discarded, unable to complain for fear of jeaopardising their reference. Manon contends that in this widespread practice, employers are in fact breaking national minimum wage laws, and harming social mobility. As she notes: “They no longer lead to paid jobs, they are replacing paid jobs.”

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