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Stand Up – Call to Action is a film created and directed by young people for young people. 

The film moves beyond awareness raising about sectarianism and hate behaviour, asking the question ‘what do I do now?’ The theme running through the film is that labels and stereo-types stigmatise people, that we may look different on the outside but on the inside we have skills and beliefs that we have in equal measure with everyone around us.  The film is a call to action to stand up to sectarianism or any other behaviour that seeks to discriminate against or create an ‘other’.

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The young people who feature in the film and who directed the film represent the feelings of young people from youth groups across Scotland.  They acknowledged where sectarianism takes place and their need to have confidence to address language that seeks to demean someone else as it happens and question narratives designed to weaken their own beliefs.  The film calls for viewers to ‘Stand Up’ or ‘Speak Out’ when they encounter sectarianism and hate behaviours in their groups or families.

Call to Action is packed with meaning because of the experience that the young people have gained in taking part in anti-sectarian programmes in their community.  As one worker said, addressing the difficult subject of sectarianism has helped young people in her group to address the difficulties they experience of feeling different, the reasons they feel different and even targeted by other groups.  Talking about sectarianism has helped the group to explore further stereo-typing which is a product or pre-cursor of discrimination and prejudice.

The film names sectarianism, age-ism, homophobia, disability, race as daily occurrences of discrimination in chat and words to insult and hurt.  The young people end the film by stating if they see any form of prejudice, they speak out.

The film is a powerful record of what has been achieved by so many grassroots community youth groups across Scotland.  4 years ago, these groups would not have known each other.  Through consistent approaches offered by the Stand Up partners: support and training for youth workers and volunteers; and network building for young people through events and residentials, these young people approached Stand Up’s and small grants scheme to make this film together.  Over 40 young people from 12 organisations from north, south and central Scotland took part.

The young people’s efforts culminated in a day event at Carronvale – ‘Call to Action’.  The day was led by the young people and featured the launch of the film, a website called ‘STOP’ designed by YMCA in Dumfries to stand up to the different voices which seek to narrow our views.  The day also featured a group of African young people who consider themselves Scottish and their efforts to stand up to discrimination and prejudice.  A group of young people from Media Education used a Stand Up grant to record the day and to interview participants about their experience in addressing sectarianism and hate behaviour.

Call to Action represents a journey of discovery:  the tentative moves by youth workers and volunteers who took part in anti sectarian awareness raising sessions, to working with young people to design and try out tools to address sectarianism in their communities to young people themselves seeking out each other from across Scotland to tackle discrimination as it happens.

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