On the 25th of September 2011, Freedom Ark church based in Tottenham hosted a show entitled FORETOLD PRESENTS in direct response to the riots. Quite a lot of the area was still licking its wounds, businesses were still boarded up, and there was an anxiousness still hovering in the air. The closer you get to the church however, the quicker the atmosphere changed to one of hope and optimism.
There was a barbecue with little kids running around in colorful clothes. I soon learned the barbecue was just the beginning. This show wasn’t a show in name alone but a fundraiser and was actively helping the area of Tottenham to recover.
A speaker came and told the audience of the importance of being present and willing to help in the aftermath when the dust is beginning to settle. Many had been left temporarily homeless and it was up to the citizens of the area to help provide a change of clothes and other amenities. He told us of how residents had come together to write letters to the owners of shops telling them to stay in Tottenham and not to leave. It was an encouraging message that left us craving to do something to help and not be lulled into a sense of relaxation or nonchalance just because the media coverage had shifted and the riots were no longer headline news. Quite the contrary, ‘now is the time to act and be there’, was the core of the message.
What followed was three presenters teaming up to produce some comical moments between themselves as they introduced talented musicians, and poets that inspired positive feeling in all who were there. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay to the end. I did however, get to speak to the organizer of the event in person, Jonathan Demi Harper and here is what he had to say.
“It was about hope and giving the older generation hope that the future is still intact and that hope is in the church. The hope is in Jesus Christ. Everything that you’re hearing is just proof that material things don’t last. The soul is eternal, come to Christ and that’s the cure for everything. Literally; and that’s what’s going to cure all our community. That’s it really. The name of the event is foretold and there’s going to be more.”
I also got hold of Tammy, a very talented poet.
“My name is Tammy. I performed today because I was invited but then I heard it was for a good cause. I was in Ghana when I heard about the riots. My dad was here (England) so I was scared for him but he is okay by God’s grace, so I thank God. Like Haiti, when there was an earthquake in Haiti, my youth group did something. So I agree with the whole ‘when sky news stops talking’ it doesn’t mean it’s over, so I think it’s a good event.”
The event proved that there are youths who are not rebels and thieves but building blocks of society that offer a greater hope for the future to come.