This time last year there were riots breaking out across London which would go on to spread out across much of the UK. Windows were smashed in, shops were looted, and buildings were set on fire.
Many questions are still being asked about the start of the riots and how they got to the scale they did, but I’m interested in the question of why did they happen – what was the purpose of them, and have things improved since then.
How the riots spread.
You can see how the riots spread on social media with this interactive graph showing the conversations happening on Twitter. In the same way, social media was used to gather people to clean up after the riots, showing the way it can be used for positive and negative things in a short space of time.
I recently saw a young person on a news interview describe it as
“young people making something happen, in a negative way.”
So is the way to improve things about giving young people the opportunity to use that drive to make things happen and to apply it positively?
This article says that a year on, Tottenham still struggles to shake off the legacy of the riots.
How are young people perceived?
But I wonder if the critical issue is how are young people perceived? Young people are very rarely praised in the media, instead we hear negative stories of that generation. Young people are often dismissed before they even try anything.
This report from the Independent talks about the Reclaim Our Name campaign, an attempt to break down negative perceptions of young people. This video from vInspired asks young people how they think they are seen by others and how they are represented in the media. They have launched the Reverse Riots, a chance for you to challenge these negative perceptions.
A stand out quote for me was
“People like to spread bad news more than they like to spread good news…a lot of projects are going on and a lot of people are doing big, powerful things but they’re just unseen and unheard of.”
One year on
How have things changed? This article from the Huffington Post has taken images from the present day and a year ago to compare the locations of the riots with how they looked at the time and how they look now.
This report in the Metro asks four young people from Live Magazine to reflect on what took place a year ago. One of the main messages is that young people want their voices heard.
Some people are suggesting that a sense of community is being created by the Olympics, and that this will “steer young people away from disorder”. What do you think of that?