Pupils’ anti-racism message goes viral

by Gazette Reporter

A class from Castaheany Educate Together National School in Dublin 15, which boasts 11 different nationalities amongst its pupils, was presented with an award recently for its outstanding work on tackling racism.
The class accepted the “overall winners” award at the Aviva Stadium in the annual creative competition run by the Show Racism the Red Card charity. The competition calls for young people to develop creative messages about racism and integration using written, visual and audiovisual means. It is open to primary schools, secondary schools and youth groups and it received over 200 entries this year.
The Castaheany class submitted a video to the competition which depicted the fifth-class pupils developing anti-racism artwork for display around their school. The soundtrack to the video is the pupils’ own version of the hit track Let It Go by Demi Lovato, with the lyrics re-written to promote an anti-racism message. To ensure their message reached as wide an audience as possible, the pupils uploaded their video to YouTube, where it has received over 1,200 views.
Commenting, Garrett Mullan, co-ordinator of Show Racism the Red Card, said: “Castaheany Educate Together National School is typical of schools in many parts of Ireland that – like Dublin 15 – experienced high levels of migration in recent decades. The class that won our competition includes pupils whose families originally come from Slovakia, Poland, Nigeria, Romania, Albania, Serbia, India and Pakistan, as well as Ireland.
“Because the school has such a multicultural student body, the teachers are highly conscious of the importance of educating pupils about racism and equipping them with the skills to challenge racism in every-day life. Importantly, the school is also committed to spreading the anti-racism message outside of the school-gates. What really impressed our judging panel about this particular entry was the emphasis it placed on ‘going viral’ and spreading a positive message through social media.
“If we can cultivate an awareness of racism amongst young people and give them advice on how best to tackle it, we will go a long way towards ensuring Ireland becomes a happily multicultural and well integrated society in future years.”
Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, who was the guest of honour at the awards ceremony, presented the pupils with their “overall winners” prize.
Minister Shatter said: “Education initiatives like those run by Show Racism the Red Card are hugely important. They challenge students to explore their own views about people who are different to themselves, and they teach them that it’s okay to be different. Crucially, they also teach young people what to do if they witness a racist incident or experience racism themselves.
“The creative competition is a great means of engaging with young people, as it allows them to address this difficult topic in a fun and artistic way. I have been most impressed by the artwork, videos, songs and dances that I’ve witnessed here today, and I congratulate both the prize-winners and all those who took part.”
In addition to Minister Shatter, a number of well-known sports and television stars were present. Former Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock, Shamrock Rovers star Eamon Zayed and TV presenter Diana Bunici participated in a panel discussion on racism, chaired by sports presenter Con Murphy. Leinster Rugby star Darragh Fanning was also in attendance, along with over 500 young people from schools and youth services around the country.

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