People on the March

Death was very much on my mind; I’d spent the previous day at a family funeral and although the event gave some closure I remained grief-stricken and still rather in shock from the sudden and unexpected death almost two weeks earlier. So coming to ‘The People’s March‘ against gun and knife crime on 20 Sept, my heart went out even more than usual to the mothers and fathers who had lost their sons, to the brothers and sisters of those who had died, and those who had lost their friends.

So many of those marching were the families and friends of young people whose lives were ended prematurely by violent death, and the grief felt by many of those I photographed was impossible to miss. They were stricken and angry and demanding that something was done to stop the killing.

But it is hard to see what can be done, and how marches like today’s event really contribute to this. Effective action would involve huge cultural shifts and a direction of change that would reverse much of what we have seen over the past 50 or so years. The liveliest part of the protest was a Christian group;¬† black-led churches have played an increasingly important part in the community over the last 50 years but don’t seem to have had a great effect in stopping the growth of gun and knife crime.
Innocent Children are Dying

This  march from Kennington Park, organised by the Damilola Taylor Trust and supported by the Daily Mirror and Choice FM came at the end of London Peace Week. It turned out to be on a slightly smaller scale than the publicity suggested, with perhaps around a thousand marchers leaving Kennington Park, to join other marchers from Camden for a rally in Hyde Park Рwhich, according to the Mirror was attended by 5,000 people. I left the marchers as they walked out of Kennington Park to make my way to a festival in Stockwell which I hoped would cheer me.

More from the Peoples March on My London Diary.

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