Murdered ‘Diamond’ layed to rest

Today Isaiah Young-Sam, the 24 year old employee of Birmingham City Council’s Business solutions and IT department who was stabbed to death during the riots in Lozells last October was layed to rest. Over 300 people, many of them his work collegues, attended to pay their respects. Also in attendance were senior figures from the council and local campaigners for an end to street violence and the removal of fire arms from our streets.

Prior to the service at St John’s Church there had been some concerns expressed that it might be hijacked by those who sought to further their own political ends or disrupted by associates of the three men accused of his murder. Fortunately, this did not happen and the service was described by those in attendance as dignified and moving.

Violence in that and surrounding areas of Birmingham has been a concern for some time, in particular firearms offenses (locals report that a used gun can be easily bought for as little as fifty pounds). Youth workers in the area talk of constant tension between gangs, ironically the riots that lead to Isaiah’s death also lead to a truce between the two most notorious gangs (the ‘Johnson Crew’ and ‘Burger Bar Boys’).

Efforts are being made to break the cycle of violence. Some are sports centred (such as the City United football team) whilst others are aimed at helping people into employment. Those involved report that it is a difficult struggle and that it’s not unusual to be working with someone only for them to be killed by a rival gang or by members of a gang they had been a member of themselves. As is common with such efforts lack of funding is a constant problem.

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