Thursday 7th June 2012
It was a full house at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park on Saturday June 2, when former gangster Damien Jackson shared his experiences of life in ‘The Bloods’ with 1,800 young people and more than a sprinkling of parents.
Jackson’s presentation was the centerpiece of a music, dance and drama show put on by London members of the VYG. It comprised a thoughtful and remarkably frank account of the factors that prompted him to join one of America’s most notorious gangs, and how he eventually found his way out to become an upright citizen.
Damien Jackson is a personable and convincing speaker who was equally honest about the early thrills of fast cars and fast money for a boy joining a gang from a broken home and how it all turned sour.
He explained that by the time his very existence was under threat from gangland rivals and the police alike, a life of running, looking over his shoulder, dodging bullets, sleepless nights and paranoia had completely lost its appeal.
The conclusion he drew is that no matter how bad your early life has been it is possible to change it for the better without recourse to gangs as a substitute family. Damien’s solution was to apply the strength of character he once applied to wrong-doing to change his life around, with assistance from the UCKG HelpCentre.
He concluded by focusing on the many sources of support there are for young people in the UK, with particular reference to the VYG, the youth group of the UCKG HelpCentre.
When the show ended the auditorium at the Rainbow Theatre was alive with palpable optimism. Audience member Marcia Graham, a parent of teenagers from Catford said: “It was inspiring. The story proves that you can change from bad to good.”
A teenager who did not wish to be identified added: “The event was epic. I could relate to many things Damien was saying even though I am not from a gang.”
After the show Damien Jackson signed copies of his biography ‘Shoulda been dead’ for members of the audience. The bookis published by Overcomer Books of Jacksonville, IL, USA, and copies can be obtained from Christian Bookshop Plus’ located in some of the bigger UCKG HelpCentres.
Over the next few days Damien Jackson will be addressing youth audiences in Ireland, France and Holland. He has already spoken to over 30,000 college and high school students in various American cities.
Note to editors
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith.
VYG (Victory Youth Group) the UCKG HelpCentre’s youth ministry, encourages young people to maximise their talents and become the best they can be.
For further information contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7686 6033.