Hello and welcome to The Teens' Speech blog. A place dedicated to discussing issues of significance to young people in particular and the nation as a whole.
The Teens' Speech


On Christmas Day this year, teenage Britain delivered its own message to the nation. Find out more

We care a lot

On 11 August, 2007, Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, were attacked by a gang of teenagers in a local park. The apparent motive was that Sophie and Robert - both goths - dressed differently.

When he sentenced the gang, the judge, Anthony Russell QC, said: "This was a hate crime against completely harmless people who were targeted because their appearance was different."

Sophie Lancaster did not die because of her race, religion or sexuality. She died because she was a goth.

Lancaster's mum, Sylvia, a youth worker, has used the contributions from well-wishers to set up a special fund known as 'S.O.P.H.I.E' standing for 'Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere' aiming to "provide an appropriate memorial; a lasting legacy to raise awareness of the injustice perpetrated against Sophie Lancaster and to work towards a more tolerant, less violent society."

Lancaster's mother said: "it will also help fund group sessions with young people to teach them about alternative cultures and to respect everyone."

It's incredible that Instead of retreating into themselves and sinking into all-consuming grief, parents like Sylvia Lancaster and Neville and Doreen Lawrence are able to transform their sadness into well organised, focussed and effective campaigns for a just and tolerant society.

The internet helps, of course. Its immediacy, cost-effectiveness, reach and popularity among young people means that campaigns like S.O.P.H.I.E can gain momentum very quickly.

I guess the real challenge is in making an impact on society as a whole.

Anyway, watch this short film about Sophie called 'The Dark Angel' by Fursy Teyssier featuring music by Portishead. It will move you.

No place like home

Race, homophobia, crime, knives, gangs, ASBOs, the police, prostitution - teengers this week will tell us what communal Britain is like now and how it has to change to improve the lives of young people.

If you are aged 13-19 and have an opinion on your community, then visit YouTube and MySpace and get it off your chest.

We want to know what things are like for you now, but also how you would make Britain a better place.