New anti-racism and diversity children’s initiative launched by Unite Against Hate and Still I Rise

The Unite Against Hate campaign challenging prejudice and hate crime has partnered with Still I Rise – Diversity Storytelling to encourage the education of diversity and racial inclusivity among children.

Throughout the month of March, Unite Against Hate and Still I Rise will host storytelling sessions and share resources focusing on the positives of kind, healthy and happy friendships.

On Fridays everyone will be encouraged to participate in the #FriendshipFriday initiative, use online resources, including colouring sheets, learn about the diversity and share what makes us different and unique.

Aimed at children aged 5-11, parents, teachers and young people will be encouraged to promote racial diversity and the importance of social inclusion to children from an early age.

Still I Rise – Diversity Storytelling is a project set up during the pandemic which promotes the reading and sharing of literature which celebrates diversity, tolerance and acceptance within society. Working with children, sessions focus on creating a kinder, generation through reading books where their own experiences are represented and a sense of belonging and empowerment is created.

Founder of Still I Rise – Diversity Storytelling is anti-racism and diversity campaigner Orla McKeating who delivered a pioneering talk on the issues of social stigma, especially around race in Northern Ireland, to a packed audience at TEDxStormont in 2019. Since then, Orla has become an advocate for race inclusion, especially for women and children in BAME communities.

Diversity Storytelling and #FriendshipFridays has been supported by Belfast City Council, Community Foundation NI and Irish American Partnership.

Orla McKeating from Still I Rise – Diversity Storytelling said:

“In racial inclusion terms, Northern Ireland is progressing. However, the 2019 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey showed 25% of the population still believed themselves to be ‘a little prejudice’ towards ethnic minorities. This shows work still must be done to reach out and inform people about tolerance and acceptance of all races. At Still I Rise, our mission is to break down the barriers of race and discrimination in Northern Ireland and work with our communities to promote inclusivity and kindness through words and storytelling.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Unite Against Hate to promote the message of diversity. Through sharing stories and using pictures and drawing to share with children how tolerance and acceptance of people of all races and ethnicities is key to a kinder world, we hope to inspire our children to be better than previous generations.

“Diversity Storytelling is an excellent way to teach our children about our differences and also what binds us together. Children are never born with hate or prejudice attitudes. These are learned behaviours, often taught by society. If we can teach our children from an early age to be open and considerate to all people, then we can really work towards making our communities more open and inclusive, no matter age, gender or race.

“We are encouraging all parents and teachers across Northern Ireland to get involved and be part of the change our society needs. Our children are our future leaders. If we can show teach them from an early age that difference is something to be celebrated, then the very idea of racial intolerance and hate will be one of the past.”

To register and learn more please visit: www.uniteagainsthate.org.uk/storytelling

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