Stories Building Equal Opportunities Throughout the summer, Headliners Northern Ireland conducted a multi-media project hand in hand with the cross-community youth organisation R.E.A.C.H. Across. Session after session, we encouraged the young people to take a walk across their hometown and observe the place with fresh eyes. Using various media tools, we asked them to talk about progress in the city, illustrate the remaining tensions and look toward the future. They wrote about inclusion, diversity, and what being different was like in Derry and in a brand-new podcast they spoke about measures put in place to ensure good relations and equality of opportunities. Here is their article: “Diversity in Derry is often expressed on murals. For example, in the Bogside area of town, people will draw on the Free Derry Wall at various moments in time and for various occasions. Throughout the years, the Free Derry Corner showed support to Pride, to Palestine, to Lyra McKee, to hunger strikers. Different clubs like the Northwest Migrants Forum and some shops will also welcome diversity: shops selling objects and clothes from different communities and forums organising events to show outside communities that they are welcome in the city. 'Derry is both progressive and stuck in the past. Sometimes there is a feel in the city, as if it were going ‘with its time’ and following the rest of the world. Derry has become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and people who come from different places. But when political opinions enter the conversation, it is as if manners and respect had suddenly left the stage. There is room for improvement, for a form of communication that could be less aggressive and more respectful. When it comes to sexual orientation, as a young person it can be harder to be yourself when you are not part of the ‘norm.’ Coming out can ruin friendships and families when a circle of support hasn’t been established. Although it is possible to live as a hider, this means living untruthfully to yourself. ‘For a really long time it was difficult. I felt that because I was different, I had to prove that I was like everyone else. I would put myself in situations to appear straight. It took me a really long time to accept myself and to accept that being outrightly different meant I wouldn’t be liked by everyone.’ When it comes to race and ethnicity, it is an even bigger struggle as it cannot be hidden; and for centuries, white was the norm in Derry. It is difficult, and change is a slow process, but even though a lot more could be done, at least it feels like Derry is finally going in the right direction.” These podcast and article are part of our Good Relations & Inclusion, Diversity and Equality of Opportunity project with R.E.A.C.H. Across where the young people explore the theme of community divide and how to cross it. You can also read the story Humans of Stroke City and listen to the young people's first podcast on Inclusion in Derry. Brought to you by Grace, Ellen, Roisin, Harriet and Kaelah. Produced and edited by Marie Sauvé. Thank you to the Education Authority Northern Ireland for making this project possible through their support.