Dwayne Thomas: Guns, children, and why I wrote a song for peace

From a talk given at a Commission for Racial Equality Youth Cohesion Conference by the MC of So Solid Crew
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The best way to keep children away from guns and get gun crime off our streets is to open more community centres and youth groups in our inner cities. There's many people in these areas who don't know even know their neighbours. We need to break down the barriers between people.

At the moment we have a situation where kids finish school, come home and find their parents are still at work. There's nothing motivational for them to do so they go out on the streets and start robbing or getting into trouble.

I grew up in Camberwell, south London. Back then there were quite a few community centres, but it's a different situation now. Lots of them have closed down due to a lack of funding. And when I go in some of the ones that are still around they've obviously not been refurbished for a long time.

There need to be decks that kids can use, places where they can create music; areas where they can play football. But there should also be areas where they can read books and chill out. One of the most important things is that they provide security for children. It would also be an ideal place for kids to get careers advice. And they must be for children of all ages.

We've written a song about it, and the theme of the song is peace. We think it's looking quite good. There's a lot of people who are coming together to make this happen, but we need more people to make their voices heard. The message is: the best way to keep children away from guns is to keep them off the streets.