Idris Elba launched a campaign on Monday calling on U.K. Parliament to put an end to knife violence, particularly among the youth. Called Don’t Stop Your Future, the campaign aims to amplify the “voices of marginalized communities and those most affected by knife crime,” according to its website.
Along with a message penned by Elba posted on the site, the actor and musician released a music video for a new song about the subject, titled “Knives Down,” and staged a protest in London’s Parliament Square. As pictured above, Elba stood in front of rows of neatly folded clothes as government leaders made their way into work on Monday morning, meant to represent the children who lost their lives to knife violence last year.
“It’s the first Monday back after the new year. Which means that today, both school and Parliament are in session again. But the truth is, only one of these institutions will be forced to deal with just how many desks remain empty,” Elba wrote on Don’t Stop Your Future’s website. “In 2023, serious youth violence rose across the country. That means hundreds more promising lives cut short over an argument or a fleeting emotion. Hundreds more classrooms dimmed by grief. Every day, the feeling of helplessness in us parents grows bigger and bigger. If you have kids of a certain age, then you know – that feeling is relentless. Every walk to school. Every hug goodbye. You can’t help but wonder if that’s it; that’s the last one. It’s high time the urgency felt by us as parents, and in our communities, be actioned by our politicians.”
Therefore, Elba is calling on the government to follow through with its proposed ban of machetes and zombie knives, a type of bladed weapon with a serrated edge that is often associated with violent crime. “Four months later, the legislation needed has only just started its slow journey through Parliament,” Elba wrote. “We’re asking for the ban to be implemented immediately.”
According to the BBC, the latest police statistics show that 247 people in England and Wales lost their lives to knife violence between July 2022 and June 2023. More recent examples of this include 15-year-old Alfie Lewis, who was killed in Leeds in November of last year, and 16-year-old Harry Pitman, who died from fatal stab wounds while celebrating New Year’s Eve at Primrose Hill in London.
“To the political leaders reading this, this can be the moment we turn the tide. The year the numbers reversed course,” Elba said. “It’s not too late to end this nightmare for our kids – and make fuel for their dreams instead.”
Watch the music video for “Knives Down” below.