Media ignores march for Rochelle Holness

By Ligali Media Network | Sun 13 November 2005

March for Rochelle Holness - 13.11.05

Over two hundred people marched in honour of the murdered teenager Rochelle Holness to raise the issue of the need for better youth protection and media coverage.

There was anger at the media for failing to cover a peaceful march which sought to highlight the inadequate youth services and poor media coverage of issues affecting young people in London. The marchers which consisted of mainly young people walked for three hours taking their passionate message from Lewisham to Greenwich and attracted widespread support and encouragement from many within the South London area.

Some who attended were friends and family of Rochelle Holness, the innocent fifteen year old who was savagely murdered and subsequently mutilated by her assailant. Her body parts were found four days after the attack dumped in four bags near rubbish chutes on the Milford Towers estate in Catford.

Rochelle Holness

Invisible Victim

Several of the marchers expressed anger at the way the media had made Rochelle an invisible victim and failed to give news of her murder any prominence. Speaking to the News Shopper Rochelle’s mother Jennifer Bennett added "My daughter is somebody too and deserved just as much recognition and publicity. We as a family felt completely shut off."

Ligali spoke to some of the parents and young people themselves who echoed Mrs Bennett’s sentiments. They also added concern that there was not enough being done in the borough to provide young people with a safe environment and exposed how their concerns were being ignored making them more vulnerable. Mrs Bennett added: "I fear for the coming generations. Kids have a right to be able to go to the shops without the fear of being lured away… We need to do something before the situation gets worse. We are living in hell at the moment."

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My daughter is somebody too and deserved just as much recognition and publicity. We as a family felt completely shut off.

Jennifer Bennett

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Whilst the British government and media pats itself on the back for not being ‘as bad as the French’ they simultaneously ignore the fact that they are cultivating the exact same conditions that led to disaffected African youth in Paris finding a more direct method to articulate their political concerns. The makeup of this march was very similar to those participating in the riots in France. Over three quarters of the marchers were young African Britons.

They were angry that the horrific circumstances surrounding the murder of Rochelle Holness were marginalised by the national media, and that the government continues to suppress issues such as child safety and socio-economic inequality that are pertinent to the African British community.

The media and political parties are keen to portray young people as uninformed, apathetic, anti-social mobs who are totally obsessed by fashion, music and criminal activity. However, in areas of deprivation where dreams and aspirations are discouraged and often thwarted by the fallacy of opportunity, the opposite is often true. It is precisely because these young people have high aspirations, work hard and value education that they are increasingly frustrated by having to contend with a poor and sub-standard quality of life. Many of these young people are aware that this poverty of opportunity is intrinsically linked with their ethnicity.

On Sunday 13th November 2005, several hundred youths peaceful marched in the cold for three hours from Lewisham to Greenwich and back again to express their discontent at a government that denies there is a chronic problem with anti-African hate crime and a blinkered media that portrays all young African Britons as yobs. Typically the national media ignored their voices again, with neither the BBC nor any so-called ‘liberal’ newspaper covering the march. No doubt they will feign ignorance of the march or deem it ‘not quite important enough’ to cover this time. It is therefore more than understandable that some people resort to more attention grabbing means of getting their voices heard in this ‘democratic’ illusionist society.

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