Encouraging high school students to embrace diversity is the theme of a new initiative developed by Dubbo's Kirra Hampson.
Ms Hampson was one of the 37 people chosen for the 2020 ABC Heywire program. As part of the initiative she spent a week in Canberra at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit, joining forces with other young people to promote positive change.
"Our group came up with a social media campaign based around neon colours that encourages high schoolers and young people in regional Australia to be respectful and accepting of diverse communities. We were called LED - Let's Embrace Diversity," she said.
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After spending the week developing the idea, the group pitched it to ABC board members, the headspace CEO and members of parliament.
LED's main goal is to promote empathy.
Ms Hampson said she wanted people from a young age to be exposed to a range of diverse communities. The goal is to use #neonglow on diverse social media posts, which can then be seen and tracked by other people. It not only allows people to see they are not alone but exposes other members of the community to cultures and groups they might not have much knowledge about.
It could be as simple as a school hosting a colourful mufti day.
"If people are empathetic it will lead to much more accepting environments for diverse people. So for me as a queer person, maybe high school wouldn't have been as terrible if I had sen students posting on social media under that specific hashtag," Ms Hampson said.
"That's what we want to do with the project, bring attention to diverse communities but also celebrate everybody being different."
After spending a week working on it, the Heywire participant said it was surreal for the pitch - which started in the dark with LED holding glowsticks - to only last five minutes.
"We got really good feedback from two of the judges who both said when they were teenagers they would have loved a social media campaign about acceptance," Ms Hampson said.
The details of the project will be put together and sent out to not-for-profits, councils and community groups to see if they want to take up the idea.
Ms Hampson said the week was amazing.
"The ABC did a fantastic job. On the first day they asked us 'what do you want to change in the world?' and all of us had very big, broad ideas. 'I want to end ignorance' was one of the dreams and by the end of it they had taught us that we could get to those dreams if we look at it from realistic, achievable steps," she said.