The North West Migrants Forum’s HQ at Fountain Street was the venue on Friday night for the Democracy Day Discussion and Debate that brought together some of the city and district’s foremost politicians, community activists and academic leaders to debate with young people from right across the community divide.
The young people in attendance had the chance to debate with Westminster election candidates and also ask community and academic leaders tough questions on identity politics, Brexit, abortion, religion, and indeed, the need for integrated schools and colleges to promote a shared future for Northern Ireland.
It’s said the best way for young people to learn about politics is to get them involved and this event saw those youngsters come to the fore and challenge both panels and their views. Discussion was deep at times, funny, confrontational with the depth of feeling and passion from the young people there for all to see.
Speaking after the event, Lilian Seenoi-Barr, Director, NWMF, said she was more than happy with the success of the event.
“When it comes to politics, young people are incredibly passionate about making a change in the world around them and, from tonight, we see they care deeply about what happens in their local communities.’
Former Derry Journal editor, Pat McArt, one of the panellists also paid tribute to the organisers and those who took part.
"The energy in the room was absolutely fantastic. This Democracy Day Discussion and Debate proved beyond doubt that the young people of this city and district are definitely our future."
Mrs. Seenoi-Barr went on to pay tribute to the Westminster candidates who took time out of their busy schedules to attend, notably Dr. Anne McCloskey, Rachael Ferguson, Shaun Harkin and Colum Eastwood.
"We cannot forget to thank our amazing panel of community and academic representatives who all made Friday night’s event a massive success.
"We also see this as a cornerstone to build on going forward into 2020 and plan many more similar successful activities and events that give our young people a voice."
(Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)
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