Show Racism the Red Card rounded off this year’s educational events at football clubs in England in fine style at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium.
Why do people care about people looking different to them?
Question to panellists from Alec, Sacred Heart School
The afternoon saw around 80 young people come to the Highbury Suite to learn more about racism and how to combat it, but the event also marked the beginning of a new partnership between SRtRC and Cambridge Education @ Islington. Thanks to Cambridge Education @ Islington, SRtRC are now able to deliver a programme of anti-racist education in schools throughout the borough.
The event began with a short speech from Sara McLaughlin, Deputy Head of Service at CE @ Islington. She welcomed everyone to the event and announced this new development. When asked about the exciting partnership Sara said:
“Cambridge Education @ Islington is delighted to be working in partnership with Show Racism the Red Card to promote anti-racism in Islington's schools. Islington is an exciting borough, with over 70% of school children and young people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This work will help to bring young people together in a positive way to promote tolerance and understanding.”
Sarah Soyei, the Regional Manager of SRtRC in the South and South East then gave further details of what the partnership will mean for schools in the borough and gave a short overview of the campaign’s history, projects and resources for the audience. Sarah was also able to share with the audience some of the positive feedback the SRtRC Community Education programme has enjoyed in other areas of the country.
Following the presentation the event moved onto some educational activities for the young people from the two Islington primary schools, Sacred Heart RC Primary School and Hungerford School. The educational session was facilitated by SRtRC Honorary Patron, Leroy Rosenior. In a 20-minute session Leroy led the young people through two short activities derived from the Community Education work in schools. This served both as an excellent introduction to the themes of the day’s event and also as a taster of the kinds of activities SRtRC run within schools.
Before the DVD was screened, SRtRC were pleased to introduce Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers’ General Secretary, who spoke to the audience about the teaching union’s support of the campaign. The NUT is one of the major sponsors of the SRtRC anti-racist school competition annually and this was an ideal occasion to tell young people from the area all about it. The exhibition of the 2009 entries was available for all to view throughout the event.
The SRtRC film was then screened and the audience were certainly engaged by it. As always, the young people had been told that there were some prizes for the panel’s favourite questions in the Q&A session, which was to follow. SRtRC had provided some T-Shirts, signed by the panel, and Arsenal FC provided 3 pennants signed by the entire squad. Midway through the film there was a short pause while Leroy spoke to the audience about some of the things that they had seen so far. This addition to the programme at the events has helped us to clarify and expand upon areas of discussion within the film, while also underlining key messages.
An excellent panel had been assembled for the Q&A session. This included Sara McLaughlin; Leroy Rosenior; Christine Blower; Matt Ancell from Athena Sport at the Metropolitan Police; Cllr Ruth Polling, Executive Member for Leisure and Equalities at Islington Council; Paul Mortimer, former Charlton Athletic FC and Aston Villa FC player and new member of the SRtRC team; Paul Canoville, former Chelsea FC player and SRtRC Hall of Fame member, and Paul Davis, former Arsenal player, SRtRC Hall of Fame member and PFA representative. The vastly experienced panel handled the superb questions from the young people really well and imparted some excellent advice. SRtRC Campaign Worker, Jo Wallis had the very difficult job of choosing the best questions of the session. The lucky young people who won prizes were able to have their photos taken with the ex-pros on the panel. All of the young people who attended were able to takeaway with them a SRtRC goody bag and a copy of the new SRtRC / Arsenal FC poster.
SRtRC would like to thank Arsenal FC for hosting the event, particularly Ralph Hunt and Alex Henderson for their efforts in making sure the event was a success. We would also like to thank all of the panel and schools for attending and of course, big thanks to Cambridge Education @ Islington for ensuring that the SRtRC message will be spread further in the area by becoming our latest partner organisation.