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I have an admission to make. This issue has been the hardest to put together to date. All of the usual challenges remained the same – meeting deadlines, sourcing enough quality photography and securing enough advertising to name a few. But it is not these technical challenges to which I am referring. When I woke up to the news that 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne-Blake had been shot and killed in a driveby attack on Chalgrove Road, I, like many across the country felt deeply saddened and fearful of the direction in which the capital seems to be travelling. Of course, I cannot begin to comprehend how those closest to Tanesha were feeling and would never pretend to. Speaking to people in Tottenham in the aftermath of this fatal shooting, I heard comments such as, ‘it’s not been this bad since 2011 – just before the riots’ and ‘I’m not letting my kids play out after school anymore’. Tottenham MP David Lammy told the BBC: “I’ve had as many knife attacks as there have been weeks in the year. There are parents, families, friends, schools, traumatised and grieving.” He went on to say that “there is no single cause” of the rising levels of violence. The prospect of reporting on these recent events in a way that was truly representative was extremely daunting. It would be impossible to analyse every single one of the possible causes of the increased violence. What we therefore decided to do was to focus on young people living in Tottenham right now – what did they want to say? Of course, not everybody we approached wished to speak with us and we respect that decision 100%. They’ve spoken before and had their words misconstrued or ignored. I’d like to thank all those individuals who contributed to this issue’s front page story in particular, including those whose names are not specifically mentioned. And I would like to encourage anybody reading who would like to comment on the issues brought up to get in touch. We want to continue this conversation in the months ahead. I hope you enjoy the issue.
Ellie Rae Ward, Editor