Twenty-one year old Kenny Imafidon is this week’s Campaigner of the Week. Kenny is a Special Advisor on Youth Policy, a social entrepreneur and a campaigner on socio-economic issues affecting young people in the UK. In November 2012, Kenny published his first Kenny Report – How do politics and economics affect gangs and serious youth violence across the UK?
“Too few young people are involved in politics at the moment, and even less are educated about the power of their vote and the over-arching impact politics has on their daily lives in this country. This is one of the main reasons why I wrote the Kenny Reports”
Kenny’s views are sought after by policy makers and he has also contributed to the The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy.
Here’s what he had to say:
What motivates you to campaign? How did you get into campaigning?
The reason I became engaged in politics and started campaigning was because I felt injustice and let down by our political system and politicians. I did not simply want to complain about the issues in my community to my friends, I wanted to be part of the solution to bring about the change that is needed. I did not feel comfortable about accepting the issues I knew other people from my community and young people across the UK were facing. Issues in relation to housing, education, crime, public health and poverty were normal where I grew up and I did not want that reality to be the same for the younger generation.
What five words sum up campaigning for you?
“Being part of the solution”
What’s been the highlight moment so far?
Every time a young person or an adult who was previously disengaged with politics reads my report and then becomes inspired to engage with politics or change British politics.
What’s your next goal?
I am currently editing the The Kenny Report 3, entitled “Personalised Politics”. I am looking forward to launching this report officially on 8 April 2015 (everyone reading this is more than welcome to attend). Unlike previous Kenny Reports this new one will cover 8 topics, including housing, employment and immigration. Most importantly, this report is written by a group of 32 inspirational and committed young people from different walks of life. Many of the co-authors of the Kenny Report 3 have never engaged in politics until being part of this report.
What would you say to a cynic, or someone who thinks politics isn’t relevant to them?
“If you do not do POLITICS then POLITICS will do you”.
No matter what views young people have about politics, politics will affect our lives regardless. Decisions made by local, regional or central government dictate whether your local youth club will continue receive funding, whether you will travel on the public transport for free or a discounted price or whether your university tuition fees will be scrapped or cost £3000 or £9000. If we do not involve ourselves in the discussions that will shape our reality and future, if we do not register and vote, we risk being a generation let down by some of our politicians. Young people represent a small number of the population but this should not handicap our abilities to take power and change politics. As Margaret Mead rightly said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Fancy a chat with Kenny? He’ll be taking part in One Big Community’s On the Record, on November 15th, a culmination of two inquiries as well as a debate looking into the root causes of youth violence in London.
On the Record is part of In The House, a free event at Portcullis House, Bridge Street, London, SW1A 2LW on Saturday 15 Nov 2014, 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Sign up and come along!