Racism, intolerance and hate speech have increased in Italy with episodes of discrimination also on the rise among young people, inside and outside school, in formal and informal youth gathering spaces.
In the SottoSopra survey, conducted by Save the Children in secondary schools, more than 3 out of 5 students declared that they had been victims of discrimination and have experienced violence or threats on their own skin and almost 9 out of 10 were direct witnesses of discriminatory behaviors towards their friends and companions.
Also within the project Free of Rumors Youth Spaces, it emerged that within youth groups there is a strong incidence of discrimination between and against young people: homosexuality, belonging to the Roma community, obesity and being black are the main “labels” for which people risk being discriminated against, followed by being of the Islamic religion, being poor or disabled.
The significant presence of stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination phenomena prevents us from fully valuing diversity, negatively impacting the construction of inclusive cities and the sense of belonging to a global community.
To respond to this problem, the project DiversaMente – Youth against discrimination intends to promote the role of young people and the educating community as leaders of positive change in promoting the construction of more inclusive cities and societies.
Through a strategy based on the intercultural approach, on bottom-up participation in the anti-rumours methodology promoted by the Council of Europe, the project aims to contribute to the prevention and fight against discrimination by promoting the protagonism and active participation of young people at the local and national. Young people will be involved in the co-planning of city anti-rumours strategies and contrasting actions, promoted both within youth spaces and throughout the city in collaboration with local authorities. Thanks to the activation of a network of “young anti-rumours”, the actions will be promoted at a national level through awareness-raising events and campaigns to bring the voice of young people into policies to combat discrimination.
The initiative will be implemented in 5 Italian Municipalities part of the Città del Dialogo Network – the Italian network of intercultural cities of the Council of Europe of which ICEI is the technical coordinator – and involves 6 civil society organizations, 5 local authorities and 16 youth spaces.