WATCH: George Floyd tribute reaches to Laois where teen sings about racism

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

A Laois teenager with African heritage has written a song in response to the death of George Floyd in the US, and sharing her experience of racism in Ireland.

The talented Savannah Opara, 18, is from Portaoise. 

"So I wrote this original and posted it on every platform.. I don’t use Facebook but someone gave me the idea to post it here as well❤️ #blacklivesmatter #iamblack #blacklives #nojusticenopeace" she said.

Her lyrics include these powerful words.

"Why can't you accept that fact that I was born differently? The shade and colour of my skin determine how you treat me Black lives matter, but not as much as yours. Innocent people losing lives, RIP to George Floyd," she wrote.

Savannah told the Leinster Express why she wrote the song.

"Racism is something I've dealt with all my life and feel so strongly about the subject as it's something that hurts people that look like me," she said. 

She went to school at Scoil Chríost Rí in Portlaoise and recently graduated from a course at Portlaoise Institute of Further Education. She aspires to be a singer songwriter.

"It's always been a dream of mine to sing and perform from a young age. My mum has been singing from when she was young so she inspired me. My family is what motivates me and keeps me going," she said.

Her video was shared by the Laois Africa Support Group, which holds regular events to encourage integration in the Laois community.

"An original song from #SavannahOparah from Laois putting her emotions into a song, it's time we see racism and point it out and live together to make Laois and Ireland the nation its destined to be, #HomeToAll Please enjoy all #WeAreBetterTogether" they say.

Savannah is delighted to have their support.

"Special thanks to the Laois African support group for publishing my videl and Bolaji for the support," she said.

LSAG has also sent an open letter to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

"Historically when a society becomes diverse, racism becomes an increasing problem. We know from some of our own experiences and our work with members of the ethnic minority and migrant community, that racism continues to form a crucial part of our collective lived experience," they say.

The group which is led by Bolaji Adeyanju from Mountmellick, also calls on the Government "to look at ways of ensuring that there is zero tolerance to racism in every community in Ireland".

"We do not take for granted the peace we collectively enjoy in the nation of Ireland where we have been welcomed with open arms. We are committed to engaging and working hand in hand with relevant state bodies to promote integration and positive participation to ensure that people's civil rights and liberties are respected," Mr Adeyanju said.

Laois Offaly TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan stood in silence in the Dáil with other TDs in solidarity with victims of racism which in a tweet he called 'abhorrent evil'.