Challenging prejudice a huge priority for local communities
16 March 2022
The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke, today congratulated all those who took part in a special programme aimed at challenging prejudice and promoting positive relations across the City and District.
The Good Relations Challenging Prejudice Leadership Development Programme is part of Council's ongoing work to engage local communities in building inclusivity and acceptance. Local elected members and community representatives have been working with Council to develop leadership skills and enable them to challenge issues of prejudice and intolerance within their own communities through a series of workshops.
The interactive sessions, delivered by Springboard Opportunities Limited, specifically explored the Holocaust and how the lessons from this major historic event can be used to address key issues still affecting society today. As well as the training sessions, participants had the opportunity to go on a study visit to Auschwitz Birkenau in Poland to see for themselves the aftermath of one of the most horrific crimes perpetrated in modern history.
Speaking after the presentation, Mayor Warke said the Challenging Prejudice programme was particularly relevant in light of the current conflict in Ukraine. "Sadly prejudice and hatred and the ongoing refugee crisis in Ukraine are echoes of the events perpetrated in the wake of and during World War II and they bring into sharp focus the need to promote tolerance and understanding locally.
"It's vitally important for people from different backgrounds to come together in an open forum to promote positive debate and hear the alternative narratives of all communities. I want to congratulate all those who took part in this Challenging Prejudice programme who will now carry those learnings back to their own communities where I know they will really make a difference."
Good Relations Officer with Council, Amanda Biega, said: "I want to thank all those who participated in the programme. The Leadership Chapter of the programme aims to empower those who are working within local communities to help them challenge prejudice, change attitudes and promote positive relations. In considering the events of the past it offers a new perspective on how these prejudices can escalate and the chance to look at the mechanisms that can be introduced to change society for the better."
Speaking on behalf of Springboard Opportunities Ltd. Angila Chada Executive Director added: "We are delighted to have worked with the participants from the Challenging Prejudice programme. They have been on an incredible journey, learning how extreme prejudice can result in devastating inhumanity. We believe the experience will only strengthen their ability and desire to build cohesive communities in Derry and Strabane, and we wish them every success."