The event will take place in a community venue in Haringey and is due to be attended by over 100 residents who will get a chance quiz Boris Johnson alongside a panel of local experts.
The evening will be chaired by Pastor Nims Obunge MBE, Chief Executive of the Haringey based Peace Alliance and Freedoms Ark. He will be joined by two other local representatives, John Noblemunn, Chair of Haringey Black Independent Advisory Group and Vice Chair of Trident Independent Advisory Group and Paulette Henry, Participation and Inclusion Manager, Haringey Council Youth Service; The fifth panel member is Ray Lewis, Chair of the Mayor’s Expert Advisory Group.
During the second half of the evening the audience will get the chance to take part in group workshops to discuss what is already going on in the community and the challenges it faces. Boris Johnson will also take part in these breakout sessions.
At this point of the evening, in acknowledgement of the 30th anniversary of the Brixton Riots and a year of unrest in 1981 that affected many of London's black communities, those taking part in the workshops will be encouraged to discuss how they feel the relationship between the police and their communities has changed over the years and how it can be improved. This workshop will be facilitated by Patrick Passley, Principal of London College of Law and Head of Social Mobility for the Paralegal Charity. Patrick is also a Trustee of the Prince’s Trust as well as being a Trustee for the Joint Council of Anglo Caribbean Churches (JCACC).
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:
"I share the worries of families across the capital regarding violence on our streets, particularly violence that involves and affects London's young people. I know that serious youth violence is taking the most dreadful toll on young black men in particular and as such this requires our most urgent attention. I don't have all the answers, but I want to hear about all the concerns and fears of those who know more than I do so my team and I can do the very best job we can to address these. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots which was marked three days ago."
Pastor Nims Obunge, who will chair this evening's event, said:
"Thirty years ago the very fibre that connected multicultural Britain was at its final threads as the Brixton riots reflected the breakdown of relationship between the Black community and the police. Today as we reflect on what was a challenging time for our city, we must celebrate our journey of cohesion whilst at the same time proceed with great caution in ensuring that the future of our city and children are secure and that riots of this nature never repeat itself again.
"We weren't having these conversations 30 years ago and I welcome what the Mayor is doing coming to spend time with us this evening. This is not just another talking shop and working in partnership we have a real chance to eradicate serious youth violence within our community."
The Mayor will this evening also announce that around 1500 people have already registered their interest to be involved in his mentoring scheme to work with at risk young men across London. Fifty people have already volunteered from Haringey and he will be encouraging many more to sign up to his Mentoring Programme, which aims to match black boys aged 10-16 at risk of offending with suitable mentors.
The Mayor is also working with YOU London, an umbrella organisation bringing together all of the uniformed groups in London (such as Scouts, Cadets and Guides) to encourage more adult volunteers to help run bigger groups and free up more spaces for those children already on waiting lists from all backgrounds across the capital.
The Mayor is currently working with an unpaid advisory group of community figures from across London, including Damilola Taylor’s father Richard Taylor, and other notable figures, with a collective expertise in tackling issues around youth violence through youth opportunities. This working group is called the Mayor’s Expert Advisory Panel.
The next Community Conversation is in Hackney in May.
Notes to Editors:
1. Members of the Mayor’s Expert Advisory Panel are: Richard Taylor, Pastor Nims Obunge, pastor at the Freedom's Ark Church in Tottenham and Chief Executive of the Peace Alliance, Ray Lewis, founder of the Eastside Young Leaders Academy in east London, Bevan Powell, who was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his contribution to policing, and Viv Ahmun, former Chief Executive of national charity In-volve.
2. If you are interested in joining the Mayor’s Mentoring Programme go to:
3. YOU London/Uniformed Groups: The Mayor wants to see more opportunities for those young people who would not traditionally sign for these groups – after school and at weekends. Currently, there are 8,000 young people on their waiting lists, unable to participate because there aren’t enough adults volunteering to run their units. Next year, we’re going to start turning this around. Through YOU London we are expanding the number of young people in uniformed youth groups from 75,000 currently, to 100,000 by 2015. Find out more about volunteering to help run a uniformed group <http://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/volunteering/public/types-of-volunteering/you-london>
4. The inaugural Community Conversation was in Croydon on 14 December 2010, and the second took place in Waltham Forest on 24 January 2011. The third event took place in Brent on 2 March 2011.
PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100
DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000.