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Remember Ben Kinsella. Stop knife crime.

July 2, 2012

Last weekend marked the anniversary of Ben Kinsella’s murder. On the evening of 29th June 2008, Ben was murdered on an Islington street. In the following days hundreds of Islington’s young people took to those streets to commemorate Ben and to call for an end to knife crime.

Ben had become the 17th young Londoner to be murdered that year. But his death was not just another statistic. His death deeply shocked everyone in our part of Islington.

Ben was a local boy. He played football for the Copenhagen Youth Project team. His desperate phone call begging for help minutes before he died was to David Dugdale a young man who was the CYP’s table tennis mentor. Many of us have tangible connections with the incident, it’s timing and place. Most people in this neighbourhood have walked in daylight along North Road and into York Way … the pavement down which Ben tried to flee from his attackers.

Ben’s murder was a horrific act of random violence. Yet we know that many sorts of violent behaviour have become endemic amongst some young people. Far too often, one encounters young people who think that aggression is the standard response to any kind of conflicting choice facing them. We desperately need to change youth culture so that kids understand that violence is the wrong reaction.

Ben’s family did something extraordinarily brave in the wake of his murder. They set-up the Ben Kinsella Trust to pass on the legacy of Ben by promoting awareness of knife-crime and educating children of all ages about the consequences of such crimes and the devastating effect that it has on families.

The Trust has now produced an exhibition about the aftermath of Ben’s death and the continuing campaign to stop knife crime and violence against young people. They have produced a powerful and moving short film about Ben’s death and the exhibition. See it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aATWfQcG1Wc

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