How has it been 20 years since Damilola was killed in a stairwell. 20 years!!!!
I remember when it hit the press and people were talking about a 10-year-old child had been stabbed and killed in Peckham and I checked the news about 5 times…. Because 10 years on age!!
My sons were younger than Damilola at the time, but I remember just sitting there debating how I could ever let my children walk home from school alone. They spoke about the “estate from hell” that he lived on, and as I read about it I was thinking…. it’s no different to where I live right now. The estate in SW London where I lived at the time had all the same features and attributes of the North Peckham estate they were screaming about….and that made me feel sick.
The footage that came out after of a little boy jumping and skipping on his way home, big old smile on his face, haunts the nation. To see how young, he was, to see how he had no idea he would die that day, is something that I personally struggled with for a long time.
My daughter is 11. She wants to walk home alone from school alone and she does sometimes. But most of the time I make some excuse when I just happen to be at the end of her school road to talk back with her.
Today was a bad day. The anniversary of Damilola’s death has played on my mind since I woke this morning. It’s something that brings my anxiety out and I just sort of suppress it. I left work and waited right at the end of the road where my daughter attends school today. When she saw me, she frowned and was clearly not happy. She came stomping over and demanded to know why I was there. I said I had been shopping and just got there so thought we could just walk home together. She huffed and almost threw her bag at me. But we walked and after a few moments we just started chatting.
No other parents were there and we didn’t see any other parents as we walked home. Just kids. She said “why don’t you trust me?” and I said what I always say…
“I trust you …. Its other people I don’t trust”
And it’s not just the death of Damilola that has made me like that. There are many things that make me constantly anxious about my children. But today, on a chilly 27th of November, I just needed to walk her back. Get her in and fuss around her.
Damilola’s death shocked a nation. But yet, children are still being killed on the streets. No, they are not 10 years of age, but …. if I just type of the top of my head….
Tashaun Arid aged 15,
I could keep going. Name after name. Then the ones who names don’t even make to press. You ….reading this right now will most likely not even know all the names mentioned above.
Children are being murdered on our streets. Stabbed to death. Children. And we don’t even know or remember half their names.
These are OUR children dying on the streets. We need to look at ourselves, at our society and ask yourself the question “What am I doing to make this better”.
Damilola’s death was shocking beyond belief, but to know that children are still being stabbed to death on our streets 20-year slater…heart breaking