A steady stream of entries have been coming into this year’s Columban Schools Media competition, writes Ellen Teague of Columban JPIC Media.
With less than a month to go before the competition closes on 20th February, there is still time to submit entries either in the writing or image categories.
This year the theme is, ‘Let’s Create A World Without Racism’ and it is open to students aged 14-18 years old. The theme is very relevant in the lead up to Racial Justice Sunday on 31 January 2021.
Reflecting on a year that saw the global Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately impact on ethnic minority groups and a series of mass protests in the US in response to high profile killings such as that of George Floyd, the lead Bishop for Racial Justice in England and Wales has said: “It’s not enough to simply denounce racism. This is a time to act.”
Bishop Paul McAleenan echoes the words of Pope Francis pointing out that instances of racism continue to shame us and show that “our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.”
He adds, “Racism is a sin and a violation of human dignity in which we are all complicit. As Catholics we need to acknowledge and confront our own failings – as individuals and as a Church. Every single one of our parishes, schools and organisations has a responsibility to actively practise anti-racism in all aspects of our mission.”
Winners will be announced on 15th March 2021 and there are cash prizes. 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.
The Judges for the Irish entries are:
Liz Dodd: Home News Editor at The Tablet and a freelance travel journalist. She has written for various UK publications, including National Geographic Traveller (UK), The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph; and has appeared on BBC Radio Four and Five Live.
Fr Bobby Gilmore: Columban missionary who writes and campaigns on migrant issues. He was on mission in Jamaica for seven years and has extensive experience of chaplaincy and anti-racism work.
Dr Ebun Joseph: A Race Relations Consultant, Director of the Institute of Anti-Racism and Black Studies, and Chairperson of the African Scholars Association, Ireland. Ebun is an author, TV panellist, columnist, and convenor of webinars on Anti-Racism. She is a published author, and contributes regular responses on contemporary issues of race and racism in Ireland. Her recent book is titled, ‘Racial Stratification in Ireland: A critical race theory of labour market inequality’.
Patsy McGarry: Religious Affairs correspondent with The Irish Times. He also is the commissioning editor for articles which are published in the paper’s Rite and Reason column. He has worked for Independent Newspapers, the Irish Press group, Magill magazine and RTÉ.
William Scholes: Religious Affairs correspondent of the Irish News, a national newspaper in Ireland, and has edited its weekly Faith matters section since 2005. The Irish News will print the winning competition entry.
The world was recently inspired by a young black poet who electrified the inauguration of President Biden with her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’.
Catholic Amanda Gorman (22) called for a country “committed to all cultures, colours, characters”.
This chimes with a core aspect of Columban mission, which is crossing boundaries of language, race, culture and religion.
Columban Competition – www.columbancompetition.com