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, 7 December 2012

Knife crime campaigner has spirit of forgiveness

Evening Standard

Tireless: playwright Joelyn Morrall

Kiran Randhawa
07 December 2012

The cousin of a murdered teenager has been recognised for her tireless work to prevent knife crime since his death.
Joelyn Morrall has campaigned relentlessly since 14-year-old Shaquille Smith was killed in an unprovoked attack.

Miss Morrall, 21, from Enfield has now been nominated for an award after writing a hard-hitting play which has been performed across the country to raise awareness of the devastating effects of gang-related crime.

Shaquille was sitting in a park only yards from his home when he became the innocent victim of a stabbing in Hackney four years ago. The schoolboy and Army cadet had been chatting to friends on a summer’s evening when he was attacked by a gang, who have since been jailed.

Miss Morrall wrote Crime of the Century as a way to deal with her “overwhelming” grief. It has since been performed in 160 venues and has also been turned into a short film. She has also run workshops in schools educating students about the causes and effects of knife crime and how it can be prevented.

She said: “I have always felt guilt and carried around this burden thinking Shaquille wouldn’t have died if I had done more before his death.

“If knife crime doesn’t affect your family, you don’t pay attention to it. I was one of those people before I lost my cousin. That’s where the guilt comes in.

“Now every time somebody dies, I think to myself, I’m not doing my job well enough.”

She added: “Through the play I gained an understanding that the people who killed my cousin didn’t value their own lives so why would they value someone else’s? They are so desensitised to human emotion. That’s society’s fault, that’s my fault.

“It is easy to hate but anger just blurs things. These people aren’t evil, they are young people who need to be helped.”

Miss Morrall — who said her cousin had “the biggest smile you’ll ever see” — has been nominated for a Spirit of London Award for Achievement in Arts. Winners of the awards, which celebrate the triumphs of young people across the capital, will be announced on Monday.

For tickets to the Spirit of London Awards on Monday 10 December and more information go to

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