Kick It Out celebrate Black History Month with Manchester United Foundation
Kick It Out hosted an educational event, in partnership with Manchester United Foundation, to celebrate Black History Month at Old Trafford on Friday (21 October).
Held inside the Manchester Suite, Kick It Out delivered an interactive educational workshop to over 75 pupils from the local area, with former United midfielder Quinton Fortune taking part alongside club and Foundation staff.
Hayley Bennett, Kick It Out’s Education Officer, kicked off proceedings by introducing the pupils to the work that the organisation does, before fellow staff member Lyndon Roberts, who is the Professional Clubs Regional Officer (North), asked them to reflect on ways in which they might respond to racist incidents within football.
Hayley was pleased to have the opportunity to educate so many young people about the importance of Kick It Out’s core messages of equality and inclusion.
“We asked whether the participants thought that racism was still a problem in sport, and every single person raised their hand to say it was. This just shows how the day can have an impact, as we were able to discuss the best ways to respond to different incidents of racism that they may come across in the game.”
Following on from the introductions to equality and discrimination, Ammarah Pandor, a member of Kick It Out’s young ambassador group A.S.P.I.R.E., led an educational quiz about diversity and racism in football, before inviting the pupils to write a message in support of equality on special Kick It Out postcards.
McKenzie, a pupil from Burnage Academy for Boys, explained what he got out of the day: “We’ve been learning about what Kick It Out means and how we can stop racism and discrimination around us, for example at football matches and at school.
“If someone’s racist or discriminates against you can report it on the Kick It Out app, or say something to them so they know that it’s wrong.”
The event finished with Rishi Jain, former Kick It Out employee and Manchester United’s Equality and Inclusion Officer, leading a Q&A with Quinton about his experience of racism growing up in South Africa, as well as the challenges of moving to England without speaking the language.
Rishi hailed the success of the afternoon and emphasised United’s commitment to working with Kick It Out to promote awareness of equality.
He said: “It’s been great for us as a club because we’ve been able to engage with a key partner in Kick It Out, and send a really positive message to the young people involved in our Foundation programme. To have someone like Quinton being the face of the event for us and giving an insight into his career is priceless – you can’t really buy that sort of experience.”
Martin Ingham-Griffith, Manchester United Foundation’s Community Cohesion Coordinator, agreed: “I think collectively, we need to do more but to have an organisation like Kick It Out with a responsibility to take things on and pull things like this together, I think it’s really important and powerful. Football has such an ability to bring people together.”