Katie McKenna speaking at Child Talks 2018 in Dublin City Hall
To celebrate World Children’s Day 2018, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, hosted Child Talks; a series of inspiring speeches by young people about their lives.
One of the speakers taking part on the day was Katie McKenna from Kilkenny City. Katie talked about the importance of acceptance and having the ability to educate people about difference. She spoke of her own experience of coming out.
Speaking to a packed City Hall, Katie explained why she decided to make a film about child suicide bombers, how she wanted people to see these children not as different but as one of them. She compared this experience to her own life and hearing her class mates talk about gay people;
“To them gay people weren’t human, they were the other.
“All I wanted to do was to show them that gay people were just like them, they sat in class with them, played sports with them, that we had feelings.
“Just because you’re not gay doesn’t mean homophobia isn’t a problem you should care about. Just because you have a house, doesn’t mean homelessness isn’t a problem you should care about.
“Just because somebody is different, doesn’t mean their problems don’t matter, and until we realise this, the world is going to be a hard place to live in.
“Next time you see someone different, the next time you see ‘the other’, think about things from their point of view, you might feel a lot different.
Speaking following the event, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said:
“As Ombudsman for Children, I have the privilege of hearing directly from young people on a regular basis; through complaints made to the Office, when young people come in for children’s rights workshops or when I travel around the country. However, we know that most organisations, or most people, do not hear from young people in this way.
“I am astounded by the bravery of Katie and all of the young people who took part in Child Talks. By telling their stories these young people are showing others how important it is to listen to young people and the meaningful messages they have to tell.
“World Children’s Day is an important opportunity to hear from children from all backgrounds, with different experiences and to take their views on board.
“If you missed Child Talks, you can watch it back on www.oco.ie”