I’m gonna be honest with you readers, just recently I have been frustrated. I have been speaking out about different subjects that are close to my heart and whilst many people support what I am saying, I also have people that are not so happy with the things I say. The truth hurts I guess.
I have had a quite a few emails saying that some of my blogs are “too hard hitting for causal reading” and “Can be too dark at times”. And I get that, sometimes people don’t like to read things that make you feel uncomfortable. But I am sorry Karen (not real name) …Being involved in Gangs and CSE “Can be too dark at times” for the people that are actually in it. Imagine what it must be like to walk in their shoes if you will Karen, it can be pretty bleak and dark t times…so buckle up and read…because this is real life.
Just recently I found myself asking the same question I have for a long time “Is all this worth it”. I spend so much of my time trying to protect those ta risk of gangs and CSE that days merge into one another and I find myself at my computer at 1 in the morning searching for laws that have been overlooked or resources I know are not there.
Why? Because I will never let a child or young person I work directly with be failed. Not on my watch. But I still wonder if its worth it when there is not much feedback and such.
Then yesterday I woke up to an email from a man named Jamie Denyer. (I won’t tell you his story, look him up on twitter and such, I will have tagged him in this, it is his story to tell you not mine) and see where he is coming from. He is an inspirational speaker. He speaks about many things, including the power of grief. He, like myself, says things that others may not.
That’s what caught my eye in the first place. I saw a few things he had done online and thought “Ohh hello, there’s one of my people”. When you come from a hard place, a grimy place, you can often just tell people are like you and that they will relate. So, me and Jamie AKA GREIFPREACHER have often spoke online and have said we would like to present together.
Anyway. like I said. I have been feeling disheartened recently and wondering what I need to do to reach as many young people as I can. I wake up and there is a message from Jamie. Just a simple one. Says that he has mentioned me in his “Monday motivation”. Jamie sends these messages out via video where he basically makes people sit up and listen.
So, I go over to watch the video and its called “Stop kidding yourself” and Jamie is basically telling people that if you think a certain way then you are just kidding yourself that a change is gonna come. Its 9 minutes long and usually I would just speed stuff up to see the bit I want. But as always, Jamie has a way of holding you when he speaks. Of making you sit back and go “Rah…I need to think this over”. As I am watching this I forget that I am here to see the message he is sending to me and I am truly now just watching this video, nodding along, and doing a little “Brap Brap” when he delivers his fire lines. (My cat is watching me do all this at the dining table).
Then he starts talking about the glitz and the glamour. He says that people are getting above their station and that people are forgetting what we are here for in terms of fighting and speaking up for those who can not or will not. He says that some people are getting the hype they don’t deserve because they have made certain moves on social media and such so NOW people want to watch them. Them. Not their message…not the cause…just them
So, I am here nodding away, a few “Braps” whilst I much my chocolate biscuit. And then he says he wants to give a shout out to someone who is not about the glitz and the glamour. He wants to talk about someone who is the grit and the grime of gangs and CSE. I was like “ohh this is gonna be good” perching on the edge of my seat, getting ready for Jamie to hit everyone with some realness.
And then he says, “Kendra Houseman”. I swear down I sat back in my chair like…what! He then goes on to say that I am the grit and the grime of CSE and gang awareness…that I have walked in the fire…That I know stuff others wont because I have done it. I have been “them”. The kids we are trying to say.
He had no reason to say all that. No interaction has taken place between us where I have said I feel frustrated that I am not reaching enough people. He just knew. He knew because he is watching my blogs, watching my moves. Nit because he wants to make sure I don’t step on anyone’s toes. Not because he can gain from it.
He is watching it because he is my people. He knows what I am all about because he knows himself.
So …to be fair…I guess it would be nice if was the “Glitz” of standing up against gangs and CSE. The “Glitz” are earning 6 figures apparently. I’m here eating fish finger sandwiches and painting my own finger nails.
Here is a link to the video: “Your kidding yourself”
I have walked with the devil himself in my past. I have lost and found myself a few times. I say stuff others won’t. I point out failings and tell people what I think about that. I will stand up and shout until there is no air in my lungs to stop gangs and CSE running the lives of OUR children and young people.
I am an ex-gang member. I am the survivor of CSE. I have been both victim and perpetrator in my past. I have been failed by the system too many times and I have earned my stripes to get up and speak about Gangs and CSE with some clarity and conviction. I…my friends..am the Grit and the Grime.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. And so are you Jamie. Big love.
Follow Jamie Denyer here: Twitter