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The last few days in London have been scary, the constant sound of sirens, the tension building as the day draws to a close, the daylight looting, the fires, lost homes, livelihoods and businesses. I have been glued to twitter, the news, the radio and the location of my son! After a pretty sleepless night I was determined to do something, help with the clean up, try to make a difference. I contacted the hugging team, many of who work in the public sector in the boroughs that have been affected by the looting and violence to see if we could go and hug, make connection, bring some sense of caring to the community in London. No joy – everyone has to work or live in different parts of town that have become slightly cut off. I couldn’t just sit at home, write up my research proposal and feel ok with that… so I grabbed the Guerrilla Hugs ‘Free Hugs’ boards and drove to Camden.
Just outside the Sainsburys and Evans Cycles there were people wanting to help with the clean up but unable to due to the crime scene investigations. I approached some of the people and asked would come and offer free hugs to make people feel better – that was it – new Guerrilla Huggers were recruited and after hugging the police officer posted outside Sainsburys we headed off to the junction of the Stables and Chalk Farm Road.
Watching the YouTube video of the injured boy being robbed had me in floods of tears this morning, how can anyone be so uncaring, opportunistic and callous? That is someone’s son, brother, cousin, grandson, friend, it could have been you! We all need to see that everyone is human, stop dehumanising by distancing your behaviour from the impact on everyone. Think this could be your family, you, would you want it to happen to you?
Then there are the people who are out there trying to protect communities, helping to clean up the mess, to speak and connect with others at this time, the woman who kindly gave all the huggers a home made cupcake – THANK YOU!
There are more good youth out, look out for each other, protect the people you live next door to, check on those who live a lone, who need to feel like there is someone to call upon. Lets strive for PEACE!
And lets us not forget the brooms! PEACE!