Since the riots last year, I have not stopped answering the same boring questions - "Why were young people rioting?" "Will the riots happen again?" "Did you take part in the riots?" - and still nothing has really changed.
The riots last year was a representation of how our young people feel towards society. Some clearly lack hope, some are clearly frustrated and some obviously need more to do, but instead of trying to restore hope or reduce frustration we are going round in circles asking the same questions getting the same answers.
To be fair, journalists, politicians and other influential adults have gained an awareness to some of the social issues young people face. Some people who I'd never get to speak to have asked for my opinion as a result of the riots, so in this case yes, the riots have made a difference, they've made people open their eyes a little bit more. However, this is not real progression if we look at the bigger picture. The problems young people face are still there, in fact are worsening due to people ignoring them and thinking things like "the riots are purely an act of criminality" when in reality there were many complex issues contributing to them.
I feel it's time to start making real changes in our country. Reducing youth unemployment being one of many along with changing the way our young people are educated and questioned to develop higher levels of thinking. RECLAIM Our Name are trying to change the perception of young people through innovative schemes such as YP+ (coming soon) and by voicing positive young people in the media.
We need to move away from the riots now and start treating young people like they are the future simply because they are. Young people are so distant to everybody else in society and this needs to change along with a lot of other things.