Romelu Lukaku discusses heritage and ancestry at 'Next 20' workshop
Everton and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku joined Kick It Out for a workshop at Calderstones School in Liverpool on Wednesday (22 April), in his role as a ‘Next 20’ ambassador.
Romelu joined Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, as Paul delivered a workshop on the topics of heritage and ancestry to a selected group of students at Calderstones.
The students were asked to research their own ancestry and the historical roots of their families prior to the workshop. During the session, the students revealed their studies had found ancestry linked to various countries and regions from across the world.
Romelu, a Belgian whose family heritage is linked to the Democratic Republic of Congo, gave his thoughts about his own identity and how that knowledge has taught him to respect and embrace different cultures and backgrounds.
Paul linked the session to the organisation’s work in tackling discrimination in football and challenged the students’ pre-conceptions on issues surrounding racism, sexism and homophobia.
Romelu was then quizzed on the workshop and his career as a footballer by the students before the session came to an end. Speaking afterwards, Romelu spoke about the reasons why he gives his backing to Kick It Out.
“The workshop was good and the young people were reactive to what was said by Paul,” Romelu said. “Hopefully we gave them the advice that discrimination shouldn’t be allowed anywhere.
“I’ve always been a laid back kind of person but if there is an opportunity to get involved in something important then I’m in. So for me it is important for me to be here in my role as a ‘Next 20’ ambassador for Kick It Out, to teach young people how to handle discrimination and treat people with respect.”
Paul was pleased with how Romelu interacted during the ‘Next 20 event’. He said: “This was a particularly interesting ‘Next 20’ event, as it focused on ancestry and heritage, which is a topic some of the students may not have thought before the session with Romelu was organisied.
“It is important that young people learn about these topics as it gives them a greater understanding and respect of the diverse environment they live in and come from.
“Romelu is an important ambassador for our ‘Next 20’ initiative. He spoke brilliantly to the students about his own experiences growing up in Belgium which will help their understanding of how discriminiation can affect people from all backgrounds.”