Over 110 young people enjoyed a day of activities at the Stadium of Light; they even met their footballing heroes!
Treat everyone as you want to be treated. If you keep that as your motto you can't go far wrong!
John Anderson, SRtRC Coach
Show Racism the Red Card hosted a full day event for pupils at Ryhope Junior School, Whitburn Village Primary and Thornhill Primary. They took part in a series of educational workshops led by SRtRC staff and the Sunderland AFC Foundation. They were also treated to a tour of the stadium.
In the afternoon session, the group watched a screening of the Show Racism the Red Card DVD and were then asked to think of questions to pose to a panel, and what a panel! The pupils were thrilled to see current stars Kieran Richardson and Craig Gordon and well as true Sunderland legends Dick Malone, Jimmy Montgomery and Gary Bennett. Completing the panel were SRtRC coaches Dean Gordon, John Anderson and Olivier Bernard who all revealed their personal experiences with racism.
The young people asked some really searching questions and were rewarded for their efforts – three runners up won baseball hats and t-shirts and the overall “best question of the day” was awarded to Emily Littler who won a pair of match tickets for a SAFC home game, kindly donated by the club. Congratulations to Emily! All of the young people who attended were able to take away signed copies of the new SAFC / SRtRC poster and a goody bag.
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon has been an active supporter of the campaign for a number of years. He commented that the campaign is, “a great thing to get involved in… education is the most important part of tackling racism. It's got better and there has been much more emphasis on the education side of things. It doesn't take much. If we can help in any small way then it's a small price to pay."
Gary Bennett echoed these sentiments, agreeing that education is the key to resolving race problems. When speaking to the Sunderland Echo, he said:
"If you are around people or you're in a household that uses that kind of language, you believe it's the right thing to say."
The former centre-half believes there is a strong need to raise the awareness of racism because negative media attention on immigration and the rising profile of the political far-right are threats to be taken seriously.
He added: "We can't believe everything that we hear. They are very clever at how they put things across and it's important that we challenge these issues.”
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank everyone who attended the event. We are very grateful for the support shown to us by Sunderland AFC, in particular Lee Marshall, Louise Wanless, Malcolm Hopkins and Andrew Lisgo, as well as Dave Jeffries from the SAFC Foundation. Big thanks also go to our panel members who made the Q&A session such a brilliant part of the day.