Our Journey For Jimmy

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, 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.

“Everyone was in a state of shock because Jimmy was such a gentle lad, loved by so many people.”

Margaret Mizen, MBE

“My last memory of my son is of the three of us standing by the cooker in our kitchen, on the evening of his birthday, having a hug and us telling Jimmy how much we loved him. That’s a very precious memory now.”

Barry Mizen, MBE

Jimmy’s parents, Barry and Margaret Mizen, hit national headlines when immediately after the attack they spoke of compassion rather than revenge. In March 2009 Jimmy’s killer received a life sentence for murder.

“I was asked by all the press and media present how I felt, and I heard myself saying that I hoped the parents of Jimmy’s killer would be left alone as it wasn’t their fault. I said I didn’t feel anger because anger breeds anger, and that is what killed our son and could destroy our family too.”

Margaret Mizen, MBE

“On the day of Jimmy’s memorial, the week after he died, the press were there again. I’d planned what I was going to say about the disintegration of society etc. But instead I found myself saying ‘Do we need more and more legislation, or do we need to ask ourselves about the kind of society we want to live in? Change has to come from each of us.’”

Barry Mizen, MBE

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 of 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.”

Barry Mizen, MBE

For Jimmy works to make young people safer by building a legacy of peace in Jimmy’s memory. We do this by creating unique projects that take young people ‘beyond the school gates.’

When our family lost our beloved son, it changed our lives irrevocably. But since that day we’ve been determined to make a positive change to our society.

We’re now having a grown-up discussion about what role each of us, from politicians and the police, to ordinary members of the community, can play. That means challenging widely held assumptions and asking big questions about the kind of society we want to be. Jimmy’s legacy will not be one of vengeance or fear, but one of hope and peace.

“I want you to take hope and encouragement from all that we do. Please don’t feel sorry for us, but take strength and determination to work for change. It starts with each one of us. Let’s work together to bring peace in memory of our fine young people who have lost their lives to violent crime.”

Margaret Mizen, MBE

Peace is not a destination, it’s a journey. Will you join us?

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