This week’s Campaigner of the Week, is 20 year-old Rhammel Afflick, Campaigns and Strategy Manager with One Big Community (1BC), a London-wide youth-led coalition, made up of young people and partner organisations committed to ending youth violence.
Rhammel answered a few questions for us about his campaigning:
What motivates you to campaign?
Campaigning has become daily routine for me. I now know that no matter what my job is and where I am in the world it’ll always be something I’m proud to be involved in. Often campaigning is seen as another 9am-5pm job, when really it’s just about coordinating passion and channelling it at things you’d like to see change with the time and resources you have. In 2014, it’s never been easier to campaign on issues that you’re passionate about. It doesn’t need to be a sophisticated event, like a more traditional protest, it could just be a twitter campaign or a petition to raise awareness and get the attention of decision makers and the general public.
How did you get into campaigning? Was their a trigger moment, influence or person?
I started campaigning at the age of 11 with my local youth council. I wasn’t very keen at first but after my first meeting it was clear I was excited about seeing and influencing positive change in my local area. Whether it was more buses for the local schools who used the 71 bus route, shaping local youth services and priorities or influencing more engagement between the police and young people I knew there were things in my local area I wanted to change and develop.
A small interest soon became a passion, and before I knew it was involved pioneering the ‘Bridge the Gap campaigning, which was a series of events bringing together front line and senior officers from across the borough together with young people to discuss all the burning issues, which just like today in London was stop and search.
After 7 years of campaigning for change in my local area, I was elected by peers to become a member of the Procedures Group on behalf of the London youth representatives with the UK Youth Parliament & British Youth Council. It was there I had the pleasure of supporting hundreds of young people who were just as passionate if not more passionate about being catalysts for changing in their local communities.
Within this role I met Jeremiah Emmanuel, who later on went to inform me of his vision to see young Londoners come together to forge a coalition of organisations and young leaders who would set off on a mission to find a solution to an issue that had been plaguing the streets of the capital for years: youth violence. I was immediately sold by his vision, it was very evident to me that youth violence and gangs had been an issue for years, yet nothing significant seemed to have changed. Since that day I’ve worked tirelessly to shape policy and the front line services that currently affect violence and gangs in London, knocking on every door and talking to anyone who is prepared to listen.
What’s your next goal?
We’re now currently ploughing through Sounding Out London, a youth-led consultation looking into the root causes of manifestation of youth violence. Now most people will think of just the police and young people in this situation but it’s much bigger than that. It’s become evident to us that employment, mental health, education, materialism and all sorts of other issues are playing a huge role in what we’re seeing on the streets of London.
The quest for finding solutions has started, and I’m looking forward to bringing together all of London to remind everyone what Chief Superintendent John Sutherland said last year “It’s a whole-society problem that demands a whole-society solution”.
Join us, Rhammel, 1BC and many more at a free event during Parliament Week:
Saturday 15 Nov 2014, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Portcullis House, Bridge Street, London, SW1A 2LW
The House of Commons is opening Portcullis House up to young people from across London for the day. Come along and find out how to get more engaged with the issues that matter to you!
In the House will feature a fantastic array of music and arts performances, debates and discussions about the issues that matter to you.
Allsortz Open Mic will bring you an afternoon packed with pure energy and spine-tingling young talent, showcasing the very best emerging performers that London has to offer. There will also be a market place where you can explore opportunities to get involved, find out about careers in Parliament and politics, get your voice heard and make a difference.
Workshops taking place during In the House
- Poetry/Rap Workshop (Limited spaces) Aspiring spoken word artist or rapper? Have a story to share? Join Shay D on a journey through the history of freedom of speech and have your say at ‘In the House’ by taking to the stage! To sign up for this contact Shay on Twitter: @shayduk or email Info@shaydmusic.com
- On the Record A culmination of two inquiries as well as a debate looking into the root causes of youth violence in London, held by One Big Community. Follow the link above for more information.
- Being an entrepreneur ROCKS! Running 3 times throughout the day, this interactive workshop, provided by the Rockstar Mentoring Group, will demonstrate how YOU can start your own business and make it successful!
- Never before has a generation wanted to be their own boss more than YOUR GENERATION and at this workshop, you will hear from self-made millionaire,Jonathan Pfahl, who started his first Rockstar company at 25 (now only 32) and some of his mentors will be showing you how to follow your passion to create something amazing!
- Book now as places are filling up quickly! Simply register your attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and state how many tickets you need and which session you want to book:Sessions go for 45 minutes and are running at: 12:45pm, 2:15pm & 3pm.