Show Racism the Red Card visited the Molineux Stadium for an action-packed afternoon of anti-racism activities
Over 100 pupils from local primary schools visited Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for an afternoon of anti-racism activities. The young people took part in a workshop delivered by Show Racism the Red Card Campaign Worker before viewing a screening of our Show Racism the Red Card DVD.
The highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of Matt Murray, former Wolves Goal-keeper, now Ambassador of the Wolves Community Trust. Matt is an honorary patron of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and it was great that he could be involved in the event. He took questions from the young people, exploring the subject of racism in more depth and sharing his own experiences of racism both on and off the pitch.
The young people posed challenging questions to Matt, who handled them expertly! Bradley from Holy Rosary Primary School kicked off the discussion, asking if Matt had ever been racially abused. Matt spoke of his early experiences of racism when he was at school.
"I still remember the name of the person who was racist to me in school - it really hurt. He didn't let me join in the football game in the playground, simply because of the colour of my skin."
Holly asked how this made him feel.
"It was a painful experience and I'm not ashamed to say that I did cry over it at the time. It made a huge difference that my friend Stuart stood by me; he really led the way - all of my school friends and football team stood together to speak out against the racist things this boy was saying. All of you in this room today could be in a situation when you hear racist things being said. If you are bold and speak out against it, that will make a huge difference. And if you experience racism you must tell somebody - a trusted friend or an adult.
"Interestingly, I actually met this guy years later just after I'd signed for the [Wolves] first team and he came up to me to shake my hand and congratulate me! I made sure I told him exactly how he had treated me when we were in school, but we did shake hands and I hope that he has changed his ways and his thinking."
Jonathan asked: "How do you feel about your experiences of racism, looking back now?"
"I really believe that you've got to use those experiences for good. You can't fight anger with anger or the cycle just goes on forever. It's hard to deal with people being racist to you and it's especially hard to deal with it the right way and not to retaliate. Hand on heart, I think you should all Google Nelson Mandela - such an inspirational man. In a nation where there was so much division and hatred, he was peaceful and forgiving and brought people together."
Daisy rounded up the question time, asking, "Are you pleased there are campaigns like Show Racism the Red Card to help educate people?"
Matt spoke about the importance of education and said that it is key that people take the time to think and learn about racism. He spoke of the success of the campaign but stressed that there is still much more to be done. He spoke of racism towards Gypsy, Roma and Travellers and how widespread that is. Matt used to play with Freddy Eastwood, who features in SRtRC's educational DVD. He spoke to the abuse he received on the terraces because of his culture, and of the racism Travellers face in every day life. He also spoke of homophobia being a huge challenge for football.
"Everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect, regardless of their skin colour, religion, culture or sexual orientation."
The young people who asked the best questions won Show Racism the Red Card t-shirts and mini-footballs. Huge congratulations to Abigail who won the top prize: a Wolves football signed by the entire squad!
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank Matt for taking part in this event and Emily Brettell and the staff at the Community Trust for their ongoing support.
Show Racism the Red Card produces educational resources addressing different forms of racism; see our Out Of Site pack for information and classroom activities to tackle racism towards Gypsy Roma and Travellers.
We are proud to be launching a brand new resource to combat homophobia. "Homophobia: Let's Tackle It" will be available from April, follow the link for more information and view a trailer.