Kick It Out and ‘Next 20’ Ambassador Carl Jenkinson promote equality in north London
‘Next 20’ Ambassador Carl Jenkinson demonstrated his commitment to tackling discrimination in football as he joined Kick It Out to deliver an educational workshop at Copenhagen Primary School in north London.
Carl joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, to educate a group of Year 5 and 6 pupils about the importance of equality, inclusion and respect for diversity.
The introduction to the workshop was led by Paul, who ensured the pupils had a grasp of key concepts around discrimination, before moving on to challenge their understandings of appropriate behaviour towards others.
The pupils’ enthusiasm for the topic was hugely encouraging and Paul was pleased with their response when they were asked to reflect on how they would react if they witnessed an incident of discrimination.
“I thought they were extremely focused throughout and clearly wanted to engage with the questions I posed to them, some of which were quite challenging,” Paul said. “At that age, it’s not always easy to wrap your head around ideas behind discrimination but the Copenhagen pupils worked hard to understand the key messages we relayed.”
The visit was part of Carl’s role as one of Kick It Out’s ‘Next 20’ Ambassadors, a group of players from across the Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League who help spread the organisation’s core messages.
After discussing key terminologies around topics such as racism, the pupils were given an opportunity to quiz the Arsenal defender on his career, as well as his passion for Kick It Out’s cause.
Carl was thoroughly impressed with the awareness of equality issues demonstrated by the Copenhagen pupils.
“It’s fantastic speaking to them and seeing how much knowledge they actually have and how well-educated they are around the subject,” he said. “When you’re young, that’s when you take things on the most, so as time goes by and they become adults, hopefully they take the messages with them.”
Carl explained why he remains such a firm supporter of Kick It Out’s work and is proud to represent the organisation as a ‘Next 20’ Ambassador.
“I think Kick It Out’s role is very important – everyone knows the brand that they’ve created and they know what it stands for, so it’s the go-to organisation for eradicating the problem of discrimination. The staff at Kick It Out do a fantastic job and it’s great to be a part of it.”
He added: “If I can do anything to help contribute and raise awareness of discrimination, then it’s something that I’m happy to be able to do. I’m in a privileged position where I have quite a big reach because I play for Arsenal, so if I can help in any way, I will.”
Paul praised Carl’s efforts in supporting Kick It Out’s work and thanked Arsenal’s Community department: “We were delighted to work alongside Arsenal in the Community and Carl for this event. Carl was open and honest with his thoughts and I think the students took that on board when considering their own thoughts on discrimination.
“Our ambassadors have to engage and debate on some difficult subjects, but by doing this they will ensure that future generations understand more about how equality and inclusion can affect us all.”