THE First World War will be remembered by the modern generation in a performance by Blackbird Leys youngsters.

Today, 13 young people from the Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI) will perform one-minute tributes to the forgotten citizens of the war.

The performances will take the form of poems, raps and spoken word pieces.

Called 1 Minute Silence, the performance was created in a series of workshops with hip hop artists and former BBC DJs Rodney P and Skitz.

The children have researched First World War texts, by writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, to find frequently overlooked, but vital, roles in the war.

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Kameca Gayle, 14, is focusing on women in the war in her poem, inspired by a photograph from Blackbird Leys Library of a 1915 bartender.

The St Gregory the Great Catholic School pupil said: “I wrote about how women in those days didn’t get respect or have jobs until the young soldiers had to go to war.”

The Blackbird Leys resident added: “I thought this would be a great opportunity to get out of the house during the school holidays and learn about the First World War. I didn’t know that much about it before – I’ve learned a lot.”

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  • Marsha Jackson

CDI’s youth project development manager Marsha Jackson said: “1 Minute Silence is a way of engaging the young people of Blackbird Leys with the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

“It’s also for them to gain a greater understanding and empathy on how the war impacted upon their own community.

“In that respect, it is also fitting that the project took place during Black History Month.

“For those coming to our performance tonight, I think you will be surprised by the strength and depth of our young people’s work.”

Rodney P said: “For me it is a way to enlighten young people to the important roles played by our forgotten citizens during the First World War.

“The contributions of some communities in the UK and across the globe are often overlooked and this project aims to shine a light on all those who paid a price to help secure the freedoms we hold so dear today.”