London riots: Young march on Ilford’s streets to deliver peace message
Teens took to the streets in a display of peace and unity in the community after the riots and looting.
More than 30 young people aged 13 to 19 gathered in Ilford Town Centre on Friday, to take part in a peace walk.
Organiser of the peace walk, Rev Steven McEwen from City Gates Christian Centre, High Road, said: “We would like to send a message to the community and police services as they need to hear and see that young people do have a real heart and that the future is a lot brighter.
“We want to show the area that young people do love and care for their community, and our prayer walk is one of the ways we would like to demonstrate this.”
The group arrived waving colourful banners and chanting messages of peace in Ilford to which many passers-by joined in.
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The teenagers were supported by police and Blueprint Youth Group on the rally.
They prayed for the community, the police and peace on the streets of Ilford after the unrest which saw riot police in the town just took over two weeks ago.
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Jermaine Lynch, 19, has lived in Chadwell Heath all his life and has attended City Gates since he was young.
He said: “To be honest I don’t think the riots were caused by young people angry at the government but more because they saw it is an opportunity for criminals to make money as well as boredom.
“We took part in the walk to demonstrate that not all young people are troublemakers and that we love the area that we live in and will do anything to help it prosper.
“We respect authority and the walk is a positive message to shopkeepers after what happened.”
Jennifer Terry, 19, said: “The others and I are so passionate about Ilford and we want to bring a little comfort for the people living here, which is especially important after the heartbreaking scenes we saw not so long ago.”
The celebration continued after the walk around the town centre, as the youngsters showcased their talent in dance, rap and singing.