Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

The Wounds of a Community.

April 19, 2010 · 1 Comment

“In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal.”

Our communities, the ecosystems of our society, the summation of individuals is often confronted with major challenges, and no communal struggle can be measured and compared; Norwich is no different from New York City. Essentially, the differences between the two are countless, yet there is one particular similarity regarding community sustainability worth looking at. Walking through both cities it is hard to miss the sight of kids/teenagers ages 13-17 roaming the streets, gathering in corners and ‘disturbing the community’ (it would be unreasonable to assume every group of kids, usually boys, is out to cause trouble, but I am referencing a particular segment of the population who clearly is). As I walked to meet with my mentee I came across this group of kids in Norwich, and as an aspiring educator my first thought was: “why are they not in school right now?”That day, my mentee and I had one of the most profound conversations, afterall, we both found ourselves bound by a common issue within our individual communities (across the world): “little gangsters.”

We both agreed that every community, regardless of its geographical placement, is injured by social diseases, which more than often includes child poverty— leading to violence and crime. My mentee, shared some of his own experiential knowledge with me regarding these kids. He claims that there is a particular group of them who sell drugs for an older (possibly adult) guy, afterall, the police would never stop a 13 year old for selling drugs. He claims they work with a “wanna-be gangster mentality,” meaning they are attempting to become the future leaders of gangs, the ‘kings’ of the drug industry: the next statistic of “ethnic minorities” who fail the system. Yet according to the news, crime rates are continuing to drop in the city of Norwich.

According to Ben Kendall, in his article titled “Big fall in Norwich crime rates,” from the Norwich Evening News “Almost 2,000 fewer crimes were committed in Norwich during the past year as police recorded significant reductions in burglaries, violent offences and anti-social behaviour.” The Latest figures show that during the last three months:

~Burglaries fell by 12.5% compared to the last period last year.

~Violent crime fell by 14.6% across Norwich and by more than 30pc in city centre areas including Prince of Wales Road.

~Robberies fell by 19%, vehicle crime by 4% and anti-social behaviour by 19%.

Norwich’s poorest areas are experiencing what is left of crime, as city officials claim to be having a solid impact on the recent decrease, there is still a wound too deep to ignore and not easy enough to heal. My mentee suggests, just how there are multiple programs instituted in order to aid refugees and asylum seekers both integrate and progress in British society and most especifically in the city of Norwich, there needs to be an increase int he number of organizations triggering the “little gangsters” populations. Although there is somewhat of an overlapping between the population of refugees and that of kids on the streets, the target needs to be set clear in oder to help all kids to stay away from drugs, crime and violence.

Joining together as individual parts of a community we can work together to heal the wounds that inflict the future welfare of everyone who is a part of it; my mentee understands this.  As a part of the Norwich community he assures me he has and will continue to act as a part of the movement for change, ‘getting kids off the streets is going to be hard’ he says, but in response I suggest “no one said it would be easy.” (My mentee claims our program director, as well as the kid’s parents would never believe it if they knew what their children are doing on the streets, so he is fixed on not telling; I disagreed, but he has asked me to keep to not tell).

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