A host of special guests joined us in Parliament as we launched our new magazine and celebrated 15 years of the campaign
ITV's Political Correspondent interviewed Dave Anderson MP, Gary Bennett and Ged Grebby prior to our event in Parliament. To see this footage from Westminister, please watch again on ITV's North East Tonight.
Report by Brendan Simpson
Show Racism the Red Card's 15th anniversary celebration and magazine launch, according to the reactions of those present, can be called a resounding success.
A torrential downpour meant the early part of the evening was a little damp to the touch; although there was no dampening of spirits in a packed Committee Room in the Houses of Parliament. Guests saw the awarding of the latest inductees into our Hall of Fame and the launch of the charity’s new ‘Red Card’ magazine .
Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon and host of the event, kicked off the proceedings and told the crowd of his involvement in the charity since its inception.
Leroy Rosenior was chair for the evening, which saw tributes to many people who had worked hard to help promote the charity and to support the education and values that Show Racism the Red Card strive to instil into young people.
The ‘Red Card’ magazine was launched with an excellent presentation by Jo Wallis and Sarah Soyei, who gave insight into the work of the charity over the last 15 years and the challeges we all face in educating people against racism.
The Hall of Fame ceremony was received with much enthusiasm: the first award was presented by Sol Campbell and Kamaljeet Jandu, National Equality Officer of the GMB Union.
The room erupted as Doreen Lawrence OBE received her award, with a standing ovation from all those present. She was praised for her work on campaigning for Human Rights and securing justice for victims of racially motivated crimes.
Doreen said: “I am usually quite a shy person and I sometimes find things like this a little overwhelming. I don’t seek out these awards and recognition, I have just tried to seek justice for my son and encourage ambition in young people.”
The second award of the day was presented by Jason Euell, Dave Bassett and the General Secretary of Unite the Union, Len McCluskey.
Paul Mortimer has been involved with Show Racism the Red Card for over 10 years and has been working for the campaign in schools, as a coach and education worker, since 2009. As a dedicated member of staff for the campaign, it was fitting that he should be awarded a place in the Hall of Fame.
Patron Jason Euell spoke of his admiration for the charity: “I have been involved with Show Racism the Red Card for nearly ten years now and have seen it become bigger and bigger. The fact that we are here celebrating 15 years of the charity just shows that they are doing something right and hopefully, it will continue to grow and keep doing great work.”
Len McCluskey said a few words on the important role that football can play in helping educate people against racism. He used a famous football phrase to pledge support for Show Racism the Red Card: “As a Liverpool fan, I’d just like to say that 'you will never walk alone'. Unite will be there to offer any help or resources you may need to support you in the essential work you do.”
Simone Pound, Head of Equality at the Professional Footballers’ Association, was presented her award by Darren Purse and Brendon Batson. Simone has been a loyal supporter of Show Racism the Red Card and the campaign was delighted that she was able to attend the event and accept this award.
Sol Campbell presented his second award of the evening alongside comedian and Match of the Day 2’s Kevin Day. This was given to Christine Blower, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, on behalf of her members and the Union as a whole for the unwavering support they have given to the campaign over the last 15 years. Christine has been hugely supportive of the work of the campaign in her role as General Secretary and has attended many Show Racism the Red Card events.
In accepting the award, Christine said:
"From its inception 15 years ago, Show Racism the Red Card has been at the forefront of bringing the stuggle against racism to young people. As an organisation it has provided excellent opportunities for children, young people and their teachers.
"I am very proud of the NUT's support for Show Racism the Red Card and feel privileged to accept our place in the Hall of Fame on behalf of all NUt members."
There was then a moving speech from Curtis Fleming, who talked about his initial involvement in the charity and how he experienced racism in his own childhood in Dublin. Curtis was one of the first patrons of the campaign and he was generous in his praise for what the charity has done over the years in the fight against racism and the pleasure he takes in using his status as a footballer to help spread education to young people all over the country.
Last, but most certainly not least, the man who guided the audience so expertly through the evening was to receive some recognition of his work with Show Racism the Red Card. Leroy Rosenior was given a warm reception as Ged Grebby, Chief Executive, introduced him with high praise as being an 'exceptional' and 'inspirational' speaker in his anti-racism work with young people and adults. He accepted the award from Gary Bennett and Carl Leaburn.
On receiving his award, Leroy delivered a moving speech about his experiences of not just racism but all kinds of prejudice in his time as a player and manager. Most notably, he mentioned playing with Justin Fashanu and how his suicide caused him to think hard about getting involved in using football as a tool to change attitudes in society.
Once the Committee Room was adjourned, many of those present moved on to the Parliamentary Sports and Social Club where a buffet was provided. The general view from all those who attended was that the night was a great success and some very special people received deserved recognition for the difference they are making.
The brand new 'Red Card' is now available to purchase from our online shop. Individual magazines cost £1-50, a box of 125 costs £50.