Parents who lost children to knife crime campaign to end youth violence

Two mothers who lost their sons to knife crime in London have been speaking out against youth violence at an event supported by Campaign Collective.

The two mothers had been working with the social enterprise 1000 Black Boys, which last week called on big businesses and entrepreneurs to fund and enable community projects combatting youth violence.

Susan Woods, 43, from North West London, and Jada Bailey, 48, from Waltham Forest, addressed an audience at an event taking place in PwC’s offices in London Bridge. Both spoke of their commitment to ensure no other parent gets to experience what they have, and were also keen to address the way the media reports on knife crime.

Jada Bailey, whose son Jaden was murdered in January 2019, said: “I want to tell people my side of the story of Jaden and what led to his death. We all hear the media’s report when a young person is lost to knife crime, but it’s important to be able to hear our side, and so I’m really happy to be able to do that [at the event].”

Jada spoke about how she set up the Jaden Modie Movement, which empowers young people through playing sport and learning about nutrition.

The event also heard from Susan Woods, whose son Jalan Woods-Bell was tragically murdered in June 2021 on his way to school.

“Since my son was killed last year my life has been turned upside. It is truly a tragedy and I want to do all I can to ensure no parent gets to suffer like me. I would love to be able to do whatever I can and I hope that Friday’s event is the start of that,” commented Susan.

Honouring the parents was organised by British entrepreneur Ademola Jonathan Adeyeba, whose social enterprise 1000 Black Boys aims to inspire black boys and young black men to unleash their potential and live a life of purpose.

Ademola, who founded 1000 Black Boys after personally witnessing and experiencing the impact of knife crime, said: “We need big businesses and entrepreneurs to start offering their support to ensure young people take a path that doesn’t lead to a tragic end to their life. As PwC has shown, businesses can often make things happen far quicker than local authorities and the government, with less red tape involved.

“We also need more media outlets to report on the actual personal stories behind these tragedies rather than use it as an ideological football. That’s why I’m so passionate about people being able to hear the stories of Susan and Jalan, and Jada and Jaden.”

Ademola added: “We need their help to ensure the talent of young black men and black boys is realised, rather than lost to knife crime.”