Columbans launch schools media competition to ‘End Racism’

by Ellen Teague

Columbans in Britain have launched their schools media competition. This year the theme is ‘Let's Create A World Without Racism’ and is open to students aged 14-18 years old.

‘Let’s Create A World Without Racism’ is the theme for a schools’ competition launched by the Columban Missionary Society. The objective is to encourage students 14-18 years old to use their media skills to look at a topical issue which is relevant to society today and resonates with Catholic Social Teaching.

The competition is open for writing and image entries until 20 February 2021 and winners will be announced on 15 March 2021. Two separate competitions will be judged, one for students in Ireland and one in Britain and high-profile judges from the world of journalism have been secured.

In June this year, after the death of George Floyd in the United States, Pope Francis said, “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”  Young people in Ireland and Britain have been out on the streets calling for an end of racism. This is a chance to engage with an issue that addresses equality, justice, inclusion and also draws on faith and personal experience.

A core aspect of Columban mission is crossing boundaries of language, race, culture and religion. In Britain, Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker, James Trewby, runs training for teachers and workshops with young people challenging myths and preconceptions related to refugees and asylum seekers. In Ireland, Columbans support two migrant rights centres which outreach to migrants and campaign to end racism. In the U.S., Columbans on mission at the U.S./Mexico border support migrants from Latin America who have faced racist attacks and killings in the vicinity of a wall built to keep them out. In Brazil, Australian Columban Fr Colin McLean co-founded the organisation ‘Cena Um’ to counter racist attitudes towards Afro-Brazilian youth. Using drama, dance and circus arts it raises social awareness and links slavery to today’s racial discrimination.

This is the fourth annual competition for young people, with past themes looking at Migrants, Climate Change and ‘Tackling our throwaway culture’. Last year 20 schools in England submitted entries and 26 in Ireland. The Columbans are delighted that the competition gives young people a voice while encouraging their creativity.

For more information about the Columban schools journalism competition see: www.columbancompetition.com