The educational workshop in the Gallery of the stadium was filled with 130 local school children. Show Racism The Red Card is the UK’s anti-racism educational charity. The organisation utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to help tackle racism in society. The campaign works to deliver education to young people and adults in their schools, their workplaces and at events held in football stadiums, but this time the students were surprised with an added bonus as two of the O’s players also attended.
The workshop started with a short film that educated the pupils on Racism, using football as a medium. The film featured professional footballers and familiar faces talking about their experiences of racism. The children then had an hour workshop on the different types of racism including skin colour, ethnicity, religion and culture.
After the workshop, Lisbie and James arrived to answer the children’s questions. The children asked the players about their personal experiences of racism throughout their football careers. Lisbie explained that he has been subject to racist abuse in his life, he said, “The best thing to do, is to never lower yourselves to their level, just report them.”
Lisbie added, “Its good for the kids to learn about Racism at a young age, it is something that needs to be tackled and I was happy to share my experiences and answer their questions.”
Perry, a year 6 teacher at Curwen Primary School in Newham said, “In our school in Newham, there is so many children from all backgrounds and all walks of life, it is a very diverse borough and I think its very important that they appreciate not only their own culture but other cultures as well.. it is only through education that things like racism and hopefully other kinds of prejudice can be stopped.”
He added, “Listening from the players themselves and hearing true life accounts and hearing their experiences helped get the message on board. They are role models.”
At the end of the afternoon, the pupils then got time to meet the players and have team posters signed by the O’s pair, Gary Sawyer even popped in at the end to meet the pupils and sign the posters!
Zara, a pupil from Aldersbrook Primary School said, “I enjoyed today because I learnt a lot about racism and the people that do it and how to stop it.”
Manisha Tailor from the Show Racism the Red Card team said, “Working with SRtRC allows me to use my personal journey and experiences to empower young people on issues around racism. Leyton Orient provide the much needed community support needed for us to deliver this work.”
Here is a short video of the afternoon: