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Report brings hope of an end to Birmingham gang violence

l-r: Dr Martin Glynn, Zimbo Freemind, Tanayah Sam, Dr Mohammed Rahman and Craig Pinkney.

The Alliance of Sport’s Tanayah Sam played a major role as the Commission on Gangs and Violence launched its report at Villa Park last week. 

Tanayah’s company TSA Projects are part of the Commission and provided key content in the report, which seeks to address the shocking recent rise in gun discharges, gangs and violent crime across Birmingham (and the UK as a whole).

In compiling the report, Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and Rev Dr Carver Anderson sought input from affected communities, including victims, young people, faith leaders, elders and key city leaders.

These stakeholders were all represented at the launch event on December 8, including Alison Cope and Darren Laville, whose sons Joshua Ribera and Kenichi Phillips were both victims of violence.

Alison said: “Behind every report is a child. This report is to potentially save the lives of your children.”

Tanayah (who along with another Commission member, Craig Pinkney, is Co-Chair of the Alliance of Sport’s Positive Action Group on Gangs, Violence and Extremism) also provided a powerful moment for the assembled audience at the launch. 

Tanayah is a reformed ex-gang member. On stage, he embraced Zimbo, a former member of a rival gang during the 1990s and 2000s. 

“Like me, he is former gang member who has exited that world,” reflected Tanayah. “When we hugged in front of everybody, we were showing them, ‘This is what desistance looks like.’ We were showing the young people that it is possible and they can achieve it. They seemed to appreciate that.” 

The report makes 24 recommendations for the way forward in dealing with gangs and violence in Birmingham. You can read the summary report here and the full version here.

Nearly 500 were in attendance on the day, including young people who attended afternoon youth-targeted workshops on gun crime and violence. These followed recent engagement events such as Your Life Matters and a Unity and Community friendly football match between Continental Stars and TSA Athletic. 

Tanayah commented: “It was fantastic to get so many stakeholders and community members at Villa Park for the launch of the report into Gangs and Violence. 

“Now comes the hard work of ensuring its 24 recommendations are turned into action and start to improve the lives of the affected young people and communities of Birmingham.” 

(Pictured above, l-r: Dr Martin Glynn (Birmingham City University), Zimbo Freemind (ex-gang member), Tanayah Sam, Dr Mohammed Rahman (Birmingham City University) and Craig Pinkney (Real Action UK).