Teens tackle sectarianism, racism and homophobia in Face On event

Tue, 31/01/2012 - 21:31 -- Editor

Some 300 teenagers from across all 13 secondary schools locally will speak out against sectarianism, racism and homophobia at Derry City Council’s annual ‘Prejudice: Face On!’ event in the City Hotel this Thursday, February 2.  The ‘Prejudice: Face On!’ initiative, organised by Derry City Council’s Community Relations Officers,  is part of the delivery of council’s Good Relations Strategy.  It works with schools and year 10 pupils to tackle issues around hate including sectarianism, racism, and homophobia and to encourage young people to respect diversity. 

The finale event is the culmination of pupil’s participation in a series of six workshops, delivered free to schools by trained facilitators.  Face to face sessions were facilitated in which pupils got the chance to meet representatives from different communities in order to interact with difference, meet their prejudices face on and challenge stereotypes.  This year a wide spectrum of people from the community and voluntary sector got  involved including the Apprentice Boys of Derry Association, the Rainbow Project, migrant workers, organizations representing black and minority ethnic groups, the GAA, Irish Language representatives, interface community workers, former political prisoners and local church leaders.

The Mayor, Alderman Maurice Devenney, who will be awarding certificates to pupils at the ceremony, described the initiative as extremely worthwhile.  “The initiative clearly has a positive impact on the attitudes and actions of the local youth who have taken part. Teenagers can be positive influencers in their local communities and social circles so it is great to see youth engaging actively as positive citizens.  It will give me great pleasure to recognise the achievement and dedication of these pupils in this the initiative, which is one of the largest annual initiatives organised by Derry City Council in association with secondary schools.”

Sue Divin, Community Relations Officer at Derry City Council said: “This year again I am delighted with the positive feedback and enthusiasm from both the pupils and schools as well the high participation levels from all involved.  In total it is estimated that over 300 year 10 pupils will be attending the event to present and celebrate their learning.  The day promises to be packed full of fun, drama, art, music, and multi-media visuals.”

Each participating school will deliver individual presentations to their peers on the day and information stalls will be present with representatives from ‘Hands Off My Friend’; ‘Reach Across’  and ‘Youth Action’ organisations.  The celebration will include ‘Beyond Skin’ a multi-cultural band providing an interactive music and drumming experience to celebrate the achievement of the pupils.