Bethany is 9 years old and lives in Belfast. In 2015, Bethany attended a Tell It In Colour event. Tell It In Colour is an organisation passionate about promoting change in Belfast through stories, film and photography. They provide spaces where people can come together and share stories of their own experiences and thoughts.
Bethany heard the story of a young man from Zimbabwe named Stanley, who spoke about his experience of racism. After coming home, she asked her family many questions. Here Bethany tells us about her experience of listening to and getting to know Stanley:
"Racism is when people from different countries and races bully, hurt and make fun of each other because they are different from each other. This is what happened to Stanley here in Belfast. This is wrong as every one of us is different, as well as it being against the law.
When I was told that Stanley was coming for dinner to our house I was quite nervous – so I went to mum and she said it’s okay to be a bit nervous.
We had pizza that night and Elysia (my younger sister) and Stanley managed to start a pretty entertaining conversation about Charlie Chaplin, so as a result whenever Elysia sees or hears Charlie Chaplin she immediately thinks of Stanley!
When we dropped him off at his refuge hostel I wasn’t so nervous about meeting him again and I felt I wanted to know more about his story…
I’ve seen Stanley a few times so far and now I would call him a good friend. I would describe him as very sociable and smiley and me and Elysia both agree we love his hi –fives! I enjoy watching Stanley interact with Elysia.
My hope for Stanley is that he finds a better home for himself."
Bethany’s story tells us that all people have the potential to connect with each other in a positive way. When asked what she would like for the future of her home, she had one simple wish -
'My hope for Belfast is that people who are different can be treated as actual people, because everyone has feelings.'
How can we encourage a culture of open-mindedness, tolerance and diversity in Belfast? Do you know of other groups or organisations similar to Tell It In Colour, which are helping people to connect with and understand each other?
This story has been adapted from the Tell It In Colour website