Wigan Athletic teach pupils to show racism the red card

Wigan Athletic stars Nathan Byrne and David Marshall took part in a racism awareness event to educate local children.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 9:34 am
Martin Fitzsimons from Wigan Community Trust with Paul Kearns and Seth Ejukwu from SRTRC and Daniel McDermott and Niah Marsh from St Catherines.

More than 50 local pupils from St Catherine’s Primary School in Lowton and St Andrew’s Primary School, Springfield, attended the Show Racism the Red Card workshop at the DW Stadium.

The event was hosted by Wigan Athletic Community Trust, with Byrne and Marshall joining John Hudson from the PFA and former professional footballer Frank Sinclair for a Q&A activity about their experiences of racism and hate crime.

Byrne said: “It’s great to see all the kids interacting with a lot of questions, and some really good ones too. More of these events really do help the young kids grow up and act in the right way and really learn about equality and diversity in football and in real life.”

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Nathan Byrne and David Marshall at the Q&A session

“Sometimes you don’t get these opportunities as a young kid to really understand and learn about it. I think sometimes people look at it like it’s just a given and you should know, everyone needs knowledge for kids to come out of school and really learn about it hands on.

Last week's home game against Nottingham Forest, which Latics won 1-0, was dedicated to the work of Kick it Out and the Together programme by Latics and Nathan believes it’s important to show the good work the club are doing in the community.

“It’s massive for the community, for local people to see the diversity in the area and that everyone is equal. This is the main thing the kids can take away from this event is that no matter where you come from or what you look like, everyone is equal.”

The session consisted of various educational workshops which aimed to teach children to challenge racism in their communities while also enabling them to develop good relationships and respect the differences between people, regardless of their ethnicity, faith, culture or nationality.

Wigan pupils give racism the red card

Jane Hoban, Teacher at St Andrew’s Primary School added: “I think for the children, meeting the Wigan Athletic players is special in itself, but being able to ask them questions [on racism in football] they realise they are real people with real experiences.

“They can see now that racism can affect anybody, and that does have a greater impact and they may be able to realise if this has been experienced, it’s ok to speak out about it and it might give them the confidence in the future if they feel something is wrong that they can do something about it.”

Ten year old Emilija is a pupil at St Andrew’s, and said following the event she is now more confident in knowing what to do if she saw any discriminatory behaviour.

“I’ve learnt that everyone should be treated the same, and no-one should be disrespected if their skin colour is different, or are of a different religion because everyone is the same inside.

“I didn’t know what hate crime was, but now I do and I am going to try and acknowledge it, and if I ever see it I will now tell my Mum and the police.”

Paul Kearns, Deputy Chief Executive at Show Racism the Red Card applauded the work of the Community Trust, and the work they do in tackling discrimination.

He said: “The Community Trust at Wigan is one of the most proactive that we work with, a great team that take really important messages across the local community. Not just about anti-racism but also discrimination more widely with young people and it certainly makes Wigan a better place.”

For more information about Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Premier League Primary Stars, please email Senior Schools Sports Coordinator Katie Wells on [email protected] or call 01942 318090.