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31 July, 2006

Value Life Peace Walk 3 - Hands off Haringey

On the hottest day of the year, 19 July, hundreds of people marched against gun and knife through the busy streets of Tottenham and Wood Green, led by students from Gladesmore Community School. It was the third annual Peace Walk, inspired by Gladesmore’s Youth Act Value Life group, who trained in 2004 and have left a wonderful legacy.

Youth Act Value Life rally 2006
The march, with music, loudspeakers, banners and so many members of the community, stopped shoppers and residents in their tracks. Lorry, van and car drivers hooted their horns and cheered in support. Passers-by were bombarded with balloons, sweets and leaflets designed by the campaigners wearing ‘Hands off Haringey’ T-shirts covered with the signatures and hand prints of staff and students.

Choice FM DJs, Angie Le Mar and Martin Jay spoke at the rally, pledging their support, they promised to keep the campaign going throughout the year. Tony Hartney, Headteacher of Gladesmore and students Femi, Grace and Shane welcomed the marchers. Chief Superintendent Simon O’Brien told the audience how vital their campaign is and Lucy Cope of Mothers Against Guns was passionate about how the Gladesmore group had kept her going since the murder of her son, Damian. Carrie Supple, Director of Youth Act quoted Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world’. The rally ended with powerful performances by David Laurence and the Anamaniaks with thanks to all from Lee Caryll, Head of Citizenship at Gladesmore and one of the Peace Walk organisers.

Carrie added “The Citizenship Foundation’s Youth Act project trained 8 young people and 2 staff from Gladesmore two years ago and today there were hundreds marching, it was really inspiring. Everyone was celebrating how Value Life Peace Walks are now part of Gladesmore’s life.” The Youth Act campaign has led to anti-gun crime becoming a permanent part of the curriculum, involving parents and other schools in Haringey. It has generated music, films, petitions and drama and, in the words of Pastor Nims Obunge, ‘this campaign gives us hope for the future’.

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