Photo: Ellen Teague

WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED in a media competition for young people on the subject ‘Let’s create a world without racism’, run by the Columban Missionary Society in Britain and Ireland.

The two strands of the competition – articles and images – attracted almost 300 entries from nearly 100 schools, which were judged by panels of media experts separately in Britain and Ireland, some with special expertise on the issue of racism. The 14-18-year-olds addressed the topical issue which resonates with Columban mission.

“The quality of entries blew me away and I was amazed at their energy and thoughtfulness”, said James Trewby, Columban Education Worker in Britain. “Discussion of overt and covert racism, structural challenges to micro-aggression, and images to force anyone to stop and think, brought passion, experience, and hope to an important issue.” he added.

William Scholes, religion editor at The Irish News, commended the maturity of the writing and artwork of the winners. He also paid tribute to the students’ passionate care for the subject saying, “their longing that people should be seen as equals ‘no matter what colour of skin you have’ is real and poignant”. Personal testimonies had shown, “a window into how racism isn’t just an academic or theoretical issue, but a lived one which can have visceral consequences”, he said.

In Britain, Kashaf Zahid of Gumley House School in West London, wrote the winning article. It was described as, “written from the heart with references to real personal experience and tying in Catholic Social Teaching as well” by one judge. Another liked, “the point that racism and other forms of prejudice are conceived from ignorance, miseducation and influence but those who hold such beliefs can be changed for the good.”

Esther Ojobara of St Paul’s Academy in London won first prize in the images section. One judge said, “the technique of merging different facial features of individuals of different ethnicities together to make one face, representing a multi-cultural society and world, shows that although we all have differences, we have a shared humanity and are all equal, as we are created in God’s image.”

In Ireland, Ella Fleming of St Dominic’s Grammar School, Belfast, wrote the winning article. One judge described her piece as, “a fantastically brave article, beautifully written; really profoundly moving.” Another described it as, “a poignant piece, that draws attention to the dangers and impact on a life that experiences racism.”

Emily Grimes of St Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda, won first prize in the images section. Her artwork was judged to have been a “very simple but effective image that showed a lot of originality and technique.”

The competition results have been released in the lead up to the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March 2021.

  • The list of winning entries and further information is here.

* Source: Columban Missionary Society