The project “MYC!” boosts the role of young people in fighting intolerance starting from their local youth centers in the most peripheral areas of the City of Milan.
The youth will become the protagonists of anti-discrimination actions, breaking the spiral of rumors by using creativity and peer-to-peer communication (from youth to youth).
Fight prejudices and hate speech, raise awareness and critical thinking, co-design attractive messages: all this is MYC!
The suburb areas of the City of Milan (Italy) at risk of social exclusion.
The city of Milan continues to suburbanize (approx 230.000 people) and many of these areas are considered as “degraded peripheries” with more than 20.000 families receiving income support, over 70.000 young NEET, 20.000 minors in poverty.
In this context, discriminatory and extremist speech and behaviors are constantly rising and youngsters become simultaneously vehicles and victims of discrimination: 42% admitted discriminatory thoughts, 24,6% promoted hate speech, one out of two was victim of disrespectful actions by their peers, while over 54% of youngsters with foreign origins suffered from discrimination episodes. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of positive physical spaces where young people can develop critical thinking to effectively demystify stereotypes and prejudices.
“MYC! - Milan Youth Challenge against discrimination” will support young people to become active agents against prejudices and to promote positive counter-narratives through creative and artistic methods.
The project will equip youth workers and young people with practical competences, applying the so-called “anti-rumours methodology” to face the daily challenges related to discrimination, and to engage young people in creating more inclusive, intercultural and just communities.
As result, the youth centers of the suburbs of the city of Milan will be transformed into “free of rumours” spaces and the youth will become active testimonials in their local communities, using arts and creativity to raise the awareness of citizens (including the “ambivalent majority”).
The MYC! project will work with:
- Youth (12-25 years old), with a focus on youth at risk of social exclusion and expressing discriminatory thoughts and behaviors. They will increase their critical thinking skills, reduce hate speech and intolerance in their local groups.
- Educators of the youth centers in the peripheral areas of the City of Milan, that will improve their capacity to engage youth in preventing and fighting intolerance. Youth workers operate in environments where discriminations grow and propagate and they are in charge of designing and implementing effective educational actions.
- Citizens, representing the so-called “ambivalent majority”, will be reached by the actions and messages created by the youth, thus reducing prejudices and stereotypes in the targeted areas.
1) Launch of the “Milan Youth Challenge”: collection of anti-discrimination ideas from Youth Centers and selection of 5 best proposals
2) Two training workshops on the anti-rumours methodology for operators/educators of the Youth Centers to provide knowledge and practical tools
3) “Youth Centers free of rumours”: after a preliminary rumours-gathering step, participatory anti-discrimination actions will be carried out by young people in their Youth Centers through artistic methods (street art, music, videomaking, etc)
4) MYC! campaign on social media, using contents created by the youth that will become testimonials of a wide anti-discrimination campaign
5) A Community Festival, giving visibility to Youth centers and raising awareness of citizens living in marginalized areas
1) Increase the level of civic participation of at least 150 young people living in peripheral areas, who will be directly involved and become the protagonists of anti-discrimination actions in their own community and in the social media.
2) Improve the knowledge and expertise of at least 20 youth workers on how to effectively detect and counteract rumours and prejudices, with a long term impact on the improvement of non-discrimination practices adopted in their daily work with young groups.
3) Create safe spaces (“Youth centers free of rumours”) where young people can concretely develop positive attitudes towards minorities and diversity.
4) Increase citizens’ awareness of discrimination and prejudices, focusing on peripheral areas at risk of marginalization and extremism
The raise of discriminatory and extremist behaviors, and their influence on the younger generations, is probably the main threat to the future of democracy in Europe.
The project MYC! focuses on the active role of young people as anti-discrimination players in the marginalized urban areas, where the economic and social crises create the conditions for the growth and spreading of intolerance.
The MYC! experience will be then disseminated in other EU countries through the networks of CSOs of which ICEI is an active member (more than 20 CSOs in 10 EU countries) and the Intercultural Cities Programme (more than 90 European Municipalities), promoted by the Council of Europe, of which ICEI is one of the “Intercultural Expert” and Technical coordinator
The alarming increase of extremist, intolerant and xenophobic behaviors within the younger generations has given impulse to the MYC! idea.
The involvement of the Youth centers in the marginalized areas, the adoption of an innovative approach (the anti-rumours methodology), the promotion of the active role of young people and their creativity to propose positive counter-narratives: these are the 3 pillars of the idea.
They will provide concrete results in the short term, showing that facing discriminations and intolerance is possible. And, at the same time, they will create “youth spaces free of rumours”, that will serve as long term example to other associations and institutions working with young people in marginalized areas in Milan and other European cities.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
- Staff for coordination of activities, trainers and youth workers to support young people engagement: 19.000 euro
- Costs for anti-discrimination actions in the Youth Centers: 21.600 euro
- Creation of communication materials and online campaign: 8.000 euro
- Final Community Event: 3.500 euro
We will be grateful for any suggestion to improve our proposal and strengthening its impacts on young people and citizens. Inputs from different perspectives or contexts can provide useful ideas to implement the MYC! project and improve the effectiveness of our anti-discrimination actions!