Mayor to young Londoners: ‘London needs you alive’
Some of London’s most influential young artists, from grime and rap stars to poets and bloggers, have joined Mayor Sadiq Khan to launch a new campaign to help stop knife crime from claiming young lives in London.
The Mayor’s campaign - London Needs You Alive: don’t carry a knife - sends a positive and inspirational message to young people that their lives are too valuable to be put at risk by carrying a knife.
It is being supported by youth social media influencers, who together have hundreds of thousands of followers, including grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie and urban poet Hussain Manawer.
Rising knife crime has taken a devastating toll on young people in the capital, with 40 Londoners under the age of 25 fatally stabbed this year alone. The number of knife crime incidents in England and Wales increased by more than 30 per cent in the past 12 months.
“London is the best city in the world, full of opportunity, and one of the safest. But too many of our young people are being senselessly lost to knife crime. It has to stop,” Sadiq said.
“We can’t solve the problem by police enforcement alone, we need to get the message across that our young Londoners are too valuable to risk their lives by carrying a knife. They are our future musicians, artists, sportsmen and women, comedians, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs and role models. We need them,” he said.
London Needs You Alive is a key part of Sadiq’s Knife Crime Strategy, which was published in June 2017. The strategy not only targets those committing crimes, but also offers Londoners ways out of offending, measures to help keep deadly weapons off the streets, and support for communities and victims.
“London Needs You Alive is a new movement. I want everyone to get involved. By showing the incredible young people of our city how much we need and value them, we could save countless lives,” Sadiq said.
The Mayor has this year committed an additional £625,000 for knife and gang crime projects so communities can protect and educate young people, taking total spending to £7 million.
“The London Needs You Alive campaign really resonated with me and I now want the opportunity to communicate to the youths of London that it is possible to make changes to create a better life if you just stick at it, whatever your skills are,” said Grime MC Bossman Birdie.
Several families of knife-crime victims have also lent their support to the campaign - including Yvonne Lawson, who lost her son Godwin to a knife attack in 2010, and Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben died in a knife attack in 2008, when he was 16.
Londoners are encouraged to share their message on why London needs them alive via social media, using the hashtags #LondonNeedsYouAlive and #LNYA.