Sunderland AFC hosted their annual Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) anti-racism education event at the Stadium of Light; with young people from two local Primary schools in South Tyneside taking part in a series of workshops and activities.
The Black Cats are one of SRtRC’s longest running partners and have supported the campaign in numerous ways throughout the charity’s 21-year history. Almost 90 young people from Marsden Primary School and Leygate Community School visited the Stadium of Light to take part in a carousel of workshops exploring issues including identity and stereotypes delivered by SRtRC staff and a team from the Foundation of Light.
The young people examined issues of identity in their SRtRC workshop, working towards a usable definition of racism and exploring the ways in which they can respond to it. The Foundation of Light workshop focused on challenging stereotypes and looking at ways in which the hatred can be taken out of football rivalries.
In addition to the two workshops, the young people also took part in a specially arranged ground tour which included a trip down the tunnel and out on to the pitch – accompanied by Sunderland AFC’s famous entrance theme.
Following a break for lunch in the Stadium of Light’s iconic Quinns Bar, SRtRC staff led a recap of the morning’s learning before the young people watched a special screening of the SRtRC anti-racism education film which features professional footballers from across the world discussing their experiences of racism and providing advice to those who are the targets of prejudice & discrimination. The film also features young people discussing their own experiences and explores the impact of racism throughout history.
Once the film had finished, the young people were given the opportunity to put their questions about racism to a panel of special guests. SRtRC Education Worker Justine King was joined by former SAFC captain and SRtRC Head Coach Gary Bennett and Area Organiser Emma Jenkinson of campaign sponsors UNISON Northern.
The panel was completed by the event’s star guests; Senegalese defender Papy Djilobodji and South Africa International Steven Pienaar. The players spoke about their experiences of racism, with Steven Pienaar discussing his childhood in South Africa and his experiences of playing in a variety of different counties, while Djilobodji closed the Q + A by imploring young people to reject racism and just ‘be nice to everyone’!
As the event ended, the players signed autographs for all the young people present and handed out prizes for their favourite questions of the afternoon.
SRtRC would like to thank everyone at Sunderland AFC for their dedicated and continuing support for the campaign. Special thanks also go to the Foundation of Light for providing such a thought-provoking and complementary workshop.
SRtRC are very grateful to Steven Pienaar & Papy Djilobodji for taking time out to come and talk to the young people, and thanks must also go to the young people from Leygate Community School and Marsden Primary School for their positive approach to learning about racism and how to challenge it.