Black History Month is recognised globally in October each year, and Foundation staff have been delivering sessions in partnership with Kick It Out across the month, plus a full days’ workshop with Show Racism the Red Card, and incorporating educational activities into our Street Reds football sessions.
The workshops with anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out (KIO) took place at eight Manchester United Foundation partner schools, engaging over 2,800 pupils. The aim of the workshops is to educate young people and empower them to have a voice in their communities.
The KIO workshops were developed following the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, during which Manchester United donated money to KIO for any shirts printed with the slogan. The workshops were developed in partnership between the Foundation and KIO, trialled across local schools and are now part of the educational offer to all Foundation partner schools.
Last week we also hosted an educational event in partnership with anti-racism organisation Show Racism the Red Card. Supported by ex-Red Fraizer Campbell, the event took place at Old Trafford and saw over 70 students from seven Foundation partner schools get involved in various workshops to discuss the history of racism and racism in sport. The students were also tasked with a social action project to devise ways in which they could encourage change in their schools and communities.
“It’s vitally important to get young people talking about things that are happening in their communities,” said Fraizer. “There are lots of kids here from different backgrounds and they’re all having discussions about things that have affected them or their families. It’s great to see the kids learning and help encourage them to spread a positive message.”
Muhammed, 13, from Royton and Crompton E-act Academy in Oldham, said: “We learned about different cultures and how it doesn’t matter where you are from or what colour your skin is – you can be whatever you want to be. It’s 2022 and nobody should be able to stop from doing what you want to do.”
An impressive 97% of students stated that the Show Racism the Red Card event made them feel like they were part of a community, whilst 88% of students reported that the event improved their knowledge of racism.
Additional Black History Month activities took place at Street Reds on Monday evening, when Academy programme advisor and ex-Manchester United player Tony Whelan joined the project at Dixon Brooklands Academy, just a stone’s throw from where he grew up in Wythenshawe, South Manchester.
Young players from the girls, boys and inclusion teams took part in fun activities, during which they had to answer questions about and identify iconic Black players from Manchester United’s history. To the children’s delight, one of the answers was in fact their special guest Tony, as one of the first Black players to represent Manchester United in the 1960s.
Ryan, nine, who attends the weekly football sessions, was very excited to meet a pioneering Manchester United player: “Tonight was all about passion, and working together as a team, and it was amazing to have an ex-United player come to see us and talk to us about Black History – there should be no racism in football.”
Tony said: “It’s very important to educate young people at this age and for them to understand the history of Black people in our country. It was great to see them get involved in the game about Black footballers, including myself! It’s really important to make it fun for the youngsters too – very impressive.
“It’s just great to see the Foundation put these sessions on, especially in areas like this, for boys and girls, of all colours and backgrounds, and just see them having a great time together.”
Tony attended the Street Reds event following his recognition at the recent Football Black List awards, where he received an accolade alongside Foundation coach, Andrew Lawler, for services to football.
Manchester United Foundation is proud to promote equality across its projects in line with the club’s United Against Racism initiative.