Wangaratta celebrates its diversity of youth

Young people in Wangaratta do not want people to make the mistake of thinking they are all the same and are incapable of contributing to the community.

About 30 teenagers, including members of the city’s Youth Council and their friends, marched around the Wangaratta central business district on Saturday to celebrate their diversity.

Dressed in bright colours, the group embraced their differences as they banded together in an effort to break down some of the stigmas they often face.

Bright banners, clothing, make-up and wristbands ensured they could not be missed.

Youth councillor Jessica Lewis said she hoped the march would make some people think twice about dismissing all teenagers’ ability to understand and help with a cause – in the case of social media, they could even teach adults a few things.

“We’re all young people, but we’re not all the same - we have different interests, we don’t all act the same,” she said.

“There’s so many different places we’ve come from and experiences we’ve had.

“The way we think and care about things is so diverse and we all care about different things so when we work together it’s great.”

These active youths had heard it all: they were just the same, too young, too lazy and should not talk about important issues to their peers such as mental illness.

Fellow youth councillor Jordyn Parker Richards said the group wanted to change the negative stereotype.

“We can all wear bright colours so we’re the same, but we don’t all wear the same colour so in that sense, we’re all different … It’s showing the same sort of concept, but how we celebrate it is in different ways and that’s OK,” she said.

“We’d just like to have the recognition that we can do things, we can care about things and we can change things.”

The walk to celebrate diversity was the major project of the Wangaratta’s Youth Council’s 12-month term.

Following the walk around the CBD, the group returned to the Ovens Riverside Precinct for a barbecue and live music.