On Monday 18th September, Sunderland AFC hosted their annual Show Racism the Red Card anti-racism education event at the Stadium of Light.
The club were among the first to get behind the campaign over 21 years ago, and have held regular events to help educate young people from the region about racism and its impacts.
Young people from Grangetown Primary School, Cleadon Academy and Marsden Primary School arrived at the stadium to take part in an anti-racism workshop lead by SRtRC staff. The workshop explored the impact of stereotypes and assumptions on the development of racism, and covered issues including prejudice, unconscious bias and immigration.
Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light also ran a complimentary workshop which examined the rivalry between Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United FC, and looked at how differences can be used to divide people and cause hostility between groups.
As part of a carousel of activities, the young people were also treated to a ground tour by staff from Sunderland AFC which included a visit to the changing rooms and dugouts.
After lunch, the young people watched a screening of the Show Racism the Red Card anti-racism education film which features professional footballers from across the world talking about their experiences of racism and providing advice about what people can do if they ever experience prejudice. The film also features young people from a variety of backgrounds discussing their experiences of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Gypsy Roma & Traveller prejudice.
Following a lunch break, the young people had a chance to ask questions about the issue of racism to a panel of special guests. SRtRC Education Worker Claire Rodgerson was joined on the panel by Leslie Hetherington from Young Asian Voices (YAV) Sunderland who spoke about the experiences of the organisations participants, many of whom have experienced prejudice because of their skin colour or heritage.
SAFC legends Gary Bennett and Kevin Ball also spoke of their experiences of racism within the game. Both former captains have supported the campaign throughout its 21 year history and provided great advice to young people about the issue and the importance of reporting racism, either as a victim or a witness.
The panel was completed by Black Cats first team players Jack Rodwell and Brendan Galloway. Both players have taken part in number of SRtRC anti-racism education events; this was Jack’s third event as an SAFC player, whilst Brendan has taken part during his time with Everton FC. The players discussed their experiences of racism, talking about the importance of supporting targets and encouraging young people to report racism to teachers, parents and carers and to the police when appropriate.
The event closed with an autograph signing session and young people left with a copy of the SRtRC anti-racism education magazine and an SRtRC wristband.
SRtRC would like to thank everyone at Sunderland AFC for their continued support for the campaign. Special thanks goes to Danielle & Jas from the Foundation of Light for their brilliant workshops, as well as to former players & SAFC legends Kevin Ball & Gary Bennett. SRtRC would also like to thank first team players Jack Rodwell and Brendan Galloway for giving up their time and showing their support for Wear Red Day 2017; a national day of action to stand against racism and support the delivery of anti-racism education.