Alisha Mitchell, 19, is campaigning to stop young people getting involved in gangs
A young woman from London has created a film showing the impact that gang life has on families. Alisha Mitchell, 21, knew someone who was in a gang and saw the effect that it had on their loved ones.
Her film shows the thoughts of a gang member’s mum, dad, sister and friend.
It was organised with the help of Fixers – the charity which gives young people a voice – and L&Q housing association – which manages more than 9,500 homes in the borough of Lewisham and funded the project through the L&Q Foundation.
I knew someone who got involved in a gang when they were 11,’ she says. ‘It all began when he started secondary school. He went from being the oldest to the youngest in school and I think that made him vulnerable and easy to manipulate. His behaviour started to change – he was out late all the time and his family didn’t know where he was. He was getting into fights and one of my friends saw him in New Cross with a group of boys who were a lot older than him. He eventually ended up getting kicked out of school and had to go to a different one. His sister found a knife in his bag and told his mum. Social services got involved and he started working with an organisation which helps young people in gangs. He got to talk to older people who had been in gangs and they told him what the repercussions had been for them and offered him support. He managed to get out of the gang and he’s doing a lot better now, but there are still families in that situation.
Alisha, who grew up in Forest Hill but has since moved to America, adds
I saw how much it hurt his family and I made the film because I feel like people aren’t aware of this.’ ‘Whenever anyone thinks about gangs they think of how the person directly involved is affected, but their friends and family members really suffer too.
Alisha hopes to share the film in primary schools and wants to show it to pupils before they go to secondary school.
I hope it helps them with the transitioning process and shows them that they don’t have to be forced into gang crime.
For more information or to make a donation to fund more Fixer projects, visit http://www.fixers.org.uk