Monday, 26 July 2010

Stories behind the Manifesto

We recognise that where you live has a huge impact on how long you live (by as much as 20 years) and what opportunities are available to you. We will actively work against this postcode lottery for living, jobs, benefits, loans and services of all kinds that exists for people living in our poorest communities.

We understand that violence is a public health issue linked to the growing levels of inequality in our society. As a result we know that it cannot be adequately dealt with through policing alone. We want communities and the public sector to come together to support initiatives which will help to ensure a long term reduction of all forms of violence.

From a Dramatisation at the Poverty Truth Commission Event, 21/03/09

You will never guess what happened to me on the way home from school - some mad nutter came behind me with a knife! I knew who he wiz anaw! I'm allright but the boy is messed up, you know he’ doesny even live in the real world! He never goes out anymore, except to bully people, ever since he got caught up in the gang fighting and got a beating. That’s is why he takes it out on other people, he stays in his house all the time.

That’s what annoys me about living here. It’s the small minority of people that get caught up in the gang fighting and give the rest of us a bad reputation. I’ve never been in trouble before in my life. All I ever do is go to my dance classes. I’ve stayed on at school and I’m sitting three higher grade exams and I have a part time job. I’m hardly a criminal. But the media like to portray everyone from Ruchazie as mindless thugs.

Aye the media has got a lot to answer for! It sends the image of the perfect person to be stick thin, have the best clothes and cars and that’s one of the reasons most people in Ruchazie have low self esteem. If that’s not hard enough to deal with, trying to get out of poverty with our postcode seems impossible.

I’m worried about my career. When people ask where I’m from I hesitate to tell them because most people will think the worst. If your postcode shows that your from the poorest areas you are less likely to get a good job.

That's if you manage to get to school in the first place. Some of the new first years starting at the secondary school got chased home by a local gang. None of the wee
first years are even involved in gang fighting. One of them got stabbed in the thigh trying to run away.

And then there was when Ruchazie Primary School was closed down. The new school was only 5 minutes away, but there was trouble from the gang members who didn't like seeing the weans walking through their territory and chased 9 and 10 year olds home. The mums got together in their wee gang and walked them to school in big groups, which was good. That got that sorted.
Thank God the church gave us the chance to visit Malawi! It took us away from our lifestyle and showed us to believe in ourselves. It also gave us the strength to change our way of thinking and not to be put down by the media and other outside influences.

I now have a firm belief in myself which I can show in my dancing, even William and Daniel came home and started up their own football team which was very successful. We all even got involved with the poverty truth commission because we just don’t care about ourselves in our own wee world we also care about community. I wish more people were like that.

Jamie-Lee Smart and Donna Barrowcliffe

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