Post-riot developments in Haringey

August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today I saw an initiative launched on the “Post-riot clean up” Facebook page, titled “A public meeting in response to the riots” (https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=160403017370099):

Following the shocking events of last week, a number of people in our community feel that it is time for the people of east and west Haringey to get together and look for ways in which we can give the young people of our borough hope for the future. Be that by mentoring, offering work experience or re-opening the youth clubs.Myself, Jim Shepley, programme director of Hornsey YMCA, and Azul Thome from FOOD from the SKY would like to call a public meeting on Tuesday August 23 at 6.30pm at Harringay Club, 50 Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, N8 7EE, to discuss ideas and get our heads together or indeed link up with other local groups and initiatives who would like to meet.

I looked through some of the comments and wrote one of my own:

I would like to echo the point made by Emma Jones, who suggested that people from west Haringey “spend some real time over in the east and get to know people in their own communities – that is the only way the divide can begin to end, and also the only way the people in the east will begin to take you seriously”. I would add that in the east there have already been a number of meetings with the same aims as this one, organised by a variety of organisations and campaign groups, and a number of new initiatives are being launched, including a Tottenham Defence Campaign (google it). For more info you can send me a message. Unfortunately I probably won’t be able to make it to tomorrow’s meeting, but I wish you all the best.

Here are some of the meetings/events I am aware of:

  • On Saturday 13 August there was a march from Dalston to Tottenham, called by the North London Unity Assembly, under the slogan “Give our kids a future”.
  • On Monday 15 August there was a meeting in North London Community House, called by the Right to Work campaign, under the title “Defend our young people, give them a future” with a number of speeches on the riots and reactions to the riots and then comments and questions from the audience.
  • On Wednesday 17 August there was another meeting in North London Community House, called by Tottenham Concerned Residents and Supporters, under the title “After the Riots: What next for Youths and Tottenham?”

For me, it is interesting that Jim Shepley calls for a Haringey public meeting in response to the riots without acknowledging the efforts already being made in this direction within the borough, quite possibly because he is not aware of those efforts. While welcoming Jim’s aims, I would like to be a bit provocative in suggesting that his apparent lack of awareness/acknowledgment does raise interesting questions about how the riots are highlighting social divisions within British society in general and the London borough of Haringey in particular. A somewhat academic take on these questions can be found in the following blogpost http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/riotcleanup-or-riotwhitewash/ – I do not agree with everything that is written here, but I do find this a useful piece of writing to think with, particularly if we are to respond to the riots in a reflective and self-critical way that takes into account how our own positions within British society implicate us in what has taken place.

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