Jimmy Mizen was murdered in May 2008. The day after his 16th birthday, he and his older brother went into a bakery near their home in Lee, south east London.
While inside the bakery, his killer – who had been cautioned by police several years earlier for harassing Jimmy’s brother – brushed past the brothers. A scuffle followed, resulting in the perpetrator hurling a glass dish at Jimmy and fatally wounding him. Barry and his wife, Margaret Mizen, hit national headlines when immediately after the murder of their son they spoke of compassion rather than revenge.
We sat around our kitchen table in 2008 with our friends and family, and someone said we should set up a charity. The Jimmy Mizen Foundation was founded in 2009 – we have now changed our name to For Jimmy – because, really, that’s who we’ve always been. From that day we as a family have been determined to focus on two outcomes. We will not be beaten by his death and that something good will come from it.
“We need to look at what is happening when our young people are getting involved in violence. We need to understand them in order to find out why those who hurt others do what they do.”
Do we need any more laws? I don’t think so. When another young person is killed, I don’t want a politician announcing a new law and then that’s it, problem solved. There is a sense of personal responsibility that each one of us should have. We have the power to build the sort of communities that we want to live in. It’s down to us. We shouldn’t need to wait for the police or politicians.