Young Social Inovators

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Young people Rock Against Racism
Published Date: 28 March 2008
By Staff Reporter

KILKENNY’S’s first Rock Against Racism concert proved to be a great success on Sunday last as over 100 young music fans flocked to Parliament Street to see three local rock bands hit the stage in a bid to raise awareness of the problem. Transition year students from Pobal Scoil Osraí organised the event, as part of a year-long anti-racism project, with the help of Councillor Andrew McGuinness, who provided the venue.

During their project, the students explored Kilkenny people’s v ADVERTISEMENT views on the influx of foreign nationals and the cultures that have integrated successfully into our society.

They also explored racism within local communities to try to diffuse any misconceptions about foreigners.

The main aims of the group were to help eliminate any racist attitude that may exist in Kilkenny through information and education and to help young people to understand why foreign people come here and what they are coming from.

“The reception from the young people on Sunday was fantastic and it really showed how enthusiastic they are when it comes to organising an anti racism event,” Cllr McGuinness, who works as a band promoter, said.

“The fact is that society has changed rapidly in recent years and everybody has a foreign friend or knows foreign people who now live and work in Kilkenny.

“Young people need to realise the negative impact that racist behaviour can have on a community and I think Sunday’s show proved that Kilkenny’s young people are happy embrace these different cultures with respect and an open mind and this will help to maintain good civic spirit.”

Dóchas Kilkenny director Fr Willie Purcell, who volunteered throughout the project was also pleased with what the concert achieved.

“I’m delighted the event was a great success because it’s an important initiative to help create a greater awareness among young people and it’s important to show them how we can share different cultures and how we can learn from our foreign residents,” Fr Willie said.

The programme of events also included a survey of local schools to determine the level of understanding among young students in relation to social integration and racism and a survey of Kilkenny City to gauge the general public’s response to foreign nationals.

The results are currently being compiled by the transition year students.

“The students enjoyed it and they seemed very interested in learning about why foreigners” emigrate here and where they are coming from, Cllr McGuinness said.

“The reality is that Irish people have been emigrating to America, England and Australia for years in search of a better life and now, with such a vibrant economy, Ireland seems to have become the America of Europe and this evolution seems to be very interesting for the students.”

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