On Friday, I cycled down to the playground on Oliver Rd in my ward, opposite the famous Leyton Orient Football club, to see New York youth collective ‘Truce’ bring their message of peace to Waltham Forest, through rap and song.
Truce is a Christian oriented group led by former US gang members, which tries to steer young people from criminality and gang related activity.
This month, Truce is touring all over East London, performing rap and R n B tunes that preach messages of peace, with the aim being to convince our young people, once and for all, that crime just doesn’t pay.
We are fortunate in Leyton, to already possess some home grown youth pastors who do a fantastic job in keeping some of our more restless youngesters off the streets and away from negative activity.
Pastor Dez Brown (with whom I am pictured above, me looking slightly spaced out!) is one of our best. Dez used to be a full time petty criminal who then drifted into more serious crimes. After a spell in prison, however, he became a Christian and totally changed his life.
Dez has written a book (‘Convicted or Condemned’ available at www.authenticmedia.co.uk), and now works with the police and youth services to motivate our borough’s young men and encourage them to view their lives and their self worth more positively.
I am really keen to encourage the development of a youth pastors’ network in the borough, as I think they are doing a lot of good and their work needs greater recognition.
I will be holding a meeting with Dez and some of the other pastors later this summer, to see if we can get the ball rolling.