Five Northern Ireland Political Parties To Take Part In The NWMF Intercommunity and Cross Party Activism Summer School.
On Tuesday 13th July, The North West Migrants Forum (NWMF) launched a ‘Summer School’ program for young people, aged 13-24, with a passion for change and social justice.
The six-day long programme is taking place on the 21st-26th August 2021, at the City Hotel in Derry, starting from 10.30am-5pm each day.
Effective Activism Supporting Intercommunity Practice Summer School which is open to up to 70 young people will offer a mixture of intercultural learning, interactive and reflective sessions and opportunities to learn about integration challenges faced by minoritised communities in Northern Ireland.
The programme will see attendees learning directly from local activists, journalists and civil society leaders.
Aynaz Zarif, Community Liaison Officer at the North West Migrants Forum said; “This is a very exciting opportunity for young people who want to drive change in the Island of Ireland and we are looking for any young person who has a real passion for activism and wants to hear and learn directly from real-life ‘change makers’.“
“We have a great team of change makers who want to share their experiences and knowledge in interactive and reflective sessions to help young people think about Northern Ireland as an inclusive society that respects and appreciates diversity through its policies and practices.”
Among those already signed up are members from 5 NI political youth wings of Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionist Party, SDLP, People before Profit and The Alliance Party.
Cllr Ryan Mcredy of Ulster Unionist Party said, “ are delighted to have been invited to participate in this very important summer school. Too often Unionism is perceived as not being inclusive and a “cold place for migrants and minority groups. We want to change that perception. The fact is Unionists come in all shapes and sizes and we want to show not with words but with actions that the Ulster Unionist Party and indeed unionism can be a safe home for everyone regardless of their skin colour, religion or sexuality. That is why we are supporting and participating in this very important summer school to first and foremost learn and find ways we can help tackle racial inequalities and build a union of people within our communities.“
Lilian Seenoi-Barr Director of Programmes at The North West Migrants Forum said, “In this era when racism is on the rise, it is important that all young people from all backgrounds, learn and practice non-discrimination. Education is the best tool for tackling racism and inequalities and building inclusive societies.
Young people can and should be taught about equality, respect and tolerance and summer schools are a great way of bringing young people together. But this year our summer school is quite unique, it is about social activism in a very challenging time for our community, that is why we are incredibly pleased with the support we have received so far from political parties in Northern Ireland.”
“ 5 political parties have already signed up. I want to particularly encourage the DUP youth wing to sign up. We see them as vital partners in bringing about true equality and inclusion and we would very much welcome their involvement.“
“Our intention is to encourage young people from right across our city and district to engage with the big issues that impact on new communities that are coming to make Northern Ireland their home. And I firmly believe that it is vitally important to work with young people from all communities regardless of their ethnicity, political or religious affiliations. We want to share our own experiences and listen to their viewpoints, ideas and perspectives on how we can build a shared and united community.“
Effective Activism Summer school offers a mixture of fun activities and informal intercultural learning. Participants are advised to expect a variety of learning experiences and should plan to commit to 6 hours a day for 5 days to earn their space at the learning exchange trip planned to take place at Let’s Go Hydro in Belfast.
At the end of the summer school a group of 30 young people will be selected to lead the development of a policy brief focused on the change of the Common Travel Area Rules and Regulations which will be presented to the Irish and UK governments next summer.
Cara McAnaney, a member of NWMF Youth Culture Club committee said; “I am so excited to take part in the summer school as I believe it is a really important opportunity for young people to get involved in activism work. It will give me and others a chance to learn about different topics including challenges associated to the common travel area faced by minority ethnic communities who live and work here, a very important issue that I think people of my age should be made aware of so that we can work together and do something about it”
17 years old Ryan Martin says “I am very happy to have booked my space as a member of NWMF Youth Culture Club. Since I joined NWMF I have learnt so much and I honestly believe I have become more aware of the many inequalities our new communities are facing here. This summer school is a perfect opportunity to expand your horizon and to open your eyes to change and acceptance. I want to encourage young people to sign up and engage in this very important topic because we are the only ones who have a real chance of changing Northern Ireland.“
Summer School contributors include leading racial justice Activists Ivanka Antova, Coumila Manjoo, Sipho Sibanda, Naomi Green, Senator Eileen Flynn an Irish Independent politician, Community Activist Brian Dougherty of Londonderry Bands Forum; Peter Osborne, former chair of the Community Relations Council, Amanda Ferguson, freelance journalist and TV/ radio commentator, Gerald Deane, Director of Holly Well Trust and Matthew Fulton of Progressive Politics NI.
Any young person who wishes to take part in this unique summer school can register at the link below: