Chris Lines and Michail Antonio speak to local primary school children
"It is fantastic that young people have the opportunity to take part in events like this. Anti-racism isn't something you "just know", it has to be learnt - especially when people can be affected by negative influences or ideas."
Chris Lines, Sheffield Wednesday FC player
Over 100 Pupils from local primary schools were thrilled to meet Owl's stars Chris Lines and Michail Antonio at a Show Racism the Red Card event last week.
Young people from Hallam Primary, Rivelin Primary and Prince Edward Primary Schools attended Hillsborough Stadium to take part in an educational event on Thursday 4th October.
The group enjoyed an interactive workshop session, where they took part in an activity exploring stereotypes. They learnt about the danger of believing in, or not challenging, stereotyped ideas. An insightful pupil told us, "You can easily make assumptions about people, but until you get to know them you don't have any idea!"
The whole group clearly understood the central message when they chanted in unison: "Don't judge a book by its cover!"
The session demonstrated that stereotyping is the first step towards racism, when based on skin colour, religion, nationality or culture.
Following the workshop, the young people viewed a screening of Show Racism the Red Card's brand new educational film. The SRtRC DVD features top sporting personalities, speaking about racism and sharing their advice with young people. The resource will soon be used in classrooms across the UK but before its official release, the young people were among the first to view this new film. It certainly seemed to be well-received, based on the rapt looks on the young peoples' faces!
The highlight of the afternoon was the moment that Michail Antonio and Chris Lines entered the room, to spontaneous applause. The two Sheffield Wednesday stars took to the panel to take part in a 20 minute question and answer session. The audience posed challenging questions to the players, who shared their experiences of racism both on and off the pitch.
Michail spoke about his childhood, telling the young people about the racism he and his family faced when growing up. He urged the young people to tell an adult if ever they saw or experienced racism, so that it could be dealt with.
Chris praised the work of organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card, saying, "It is fantastic that young people have the opportunity to take part in events like this. Anti-racism isn't something you "just know", it has to be learnt - especially when people can be affected by negative influences or ideas. I hope that the work of campaigns such as Show Racism the Red Card will help to raise up a whole generation of young people with a real positive ethos - who do not judge people because of their skin colour, ethnicity or religion."
To the close the day, Chris and Michail awarded prizes to the children who had asked the best questions of the afternoon - including giving out match tickets and a stadium tour package, kindly donated by SWFC. They also signed autographs for everyone in attendance, much to the delight of the young people.
Following the event, several parents praised Sheffield Wednesday FC for their support of Show Racism the Red Card, saying, "It was fantastic for two players to come and spend time with the children. The event will definitely have a positive impact."
Another told us, "I have respect for the club for being involved and offering such good role models for children. They are very influenced by football players."
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank Sheffield Wednesday FC for their support - in particular to Trevor Braithwait, Chris Lines and Michail Antonio. We look forward to returning to the club next season!
You can read Sheffield Wednesday's report of the event here