The Tricycle Cinema in Kilburn, north London, hosted the launch of a new film about the issues facing young people on Tuesday last week.
Spotlight on Us — Now You Know is a film made by young people from the Genesis Community group that challenges the government’s attitudes towards them.
It focuses on the relationship between youth, poverty, education, subcultures and crime. Home office minister Hazel Blears was invited to attend the screening and debate, but declined.
The film relied upon interviews with policy makers and young people to get its message across. It starkly illustrated how disconnected adults, who would rather punish people for “anti-social behaviour” than try to understand the many hurdles thrown up by Tony Blair’s Britain, can further divide communities already under attack from deprivation.
Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) were the main concern for many of those interviewed.
Apart from the stigma attached to receiving an Asbo, there have been cases where young people have had their photographs circulated around the community by local authorities.
Then you hear a mother’s concern for her son who has had such treatment and as a result has been threatened by local adult men acting as vigilantes.
Jason, 19, who was interviewed in the film, said, “It was educational for me.
“The government needs more people like us. Hopefully Blair will try to see where we are coming from.”
Jermaine, 18, said, “It’s making youth more aware of Asbos. Most youth don’t know how to get help if they’re kicked out of their homes. Hazel Blears, you need to get more youth in parliament to help.”
And Josephine added, “To see other people having the same views as I do was really exciting. I learned how people can come together and have that push to change things.”
After the film there was time for debate between the audience, representatives of the film makers, Nikki Brooker from the UK Youth Parliament, Lionel Skingley from Nacro, Rod Morgan from the Youth Justice Board and Shami Chakrabarti from Liberty.
Chakrabarti said it was the most significant film on human rights to come out of Britain in years. People should get this film shown wherever they can.
To order copies send a cheque for £5 to Rebecca Palmer, Genesis Community, Olympic Office Centre, 8 Fulton Road Wembley, HA9 OTB. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 8150 4202.