Show your support for anti-racism: How wearing red this October can change hearts, minds and lives
It was back in 1996 when Shaka Hislop – Newcastle United’s then goalkeeper – was at a petrol station with his wife and young daughter in the centre of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Upon seeing a black man, a group of young people, began to hurl racist abuse at Shaka causing understandable fear and discomfort to the young family. However, upon realising who Shaka was, the mood of the young people turned to one of awe and admiration, leading them to approach him and request autographs.
Shaka recalls: “It’s an incident that set me back quite a lot. On the one hand, I’m thinking about my wife and daughter in the car and protecting them, and on the other I felt desperately disrespected as a black man. And then, it hits me – the power of the individual and, more so, the power [held by] footballers.”
It was at this point that Shaka realised that his ‘celebrity’ status as a footballer had an influence that he had hitherto been unaware of. Coupling the power of football and his position as a role model, Shaka recognised that education could be a powerful strategy for tackling racism in society.
Soon after, Show Racism the Red Card was born – which is today, the UK’s leading anti-racism education charity.
From humble beginnings to changing the curriculum
At the charity’s first-ever scheduled event at Gosforth High School in Newcastle upon Tyne, Shaka and his teammate John Beresford spoke to the small, acutely attentive group of students about their experiences in football and in society in general.
Today, our organisation reaches more than 60,000 young people and 14,000 adults every year. In fact, as of March 2023, we just celebrated an astounding landmark in our history – 1,000,000 people have now passed through our invaluable anti-racism learning experience.
The work we do includes visiting thousands of schools and workplaces annually, as well as running multi-school campaign events at football clubs across England, Scotland and Wales. As well as face-to-face and online anti-racism training, we provide a wealth of free-to-access educational materials, lesson plans and assembly guides.
One of our most recent initiatives, to provide free online anti-racism resources (The Education Hub) to every school in the UK, went live to great acclaim earlier this year. Currently, The Education Hub has 9,400 registered users and over 17,000 accessed lessons in countries as far-flung as India, Australia and the United States.
Our amazing team has also succeeded in establishing anti-racism on the Welsh education curriculum. This is an incredible result for the team and a stunning benefit for the young people of Wales – a curriculum that teaches and encourages inclusivity, compassion and the embracement of diversity from the very earliest years of education.
Now, we’re lobbying consistently to have this applied to the National curriculum. We need to make this happen.
Wear red and make a statement
So, how can you get involved? Wear Red Day is the UK’s greatest celebration of anti-racism and the anti-racism movement and is taking place on Friday 20 October 2023. It is singular in its purpose as a national fundraising and awareness day for what is an international social movement.
Commencing in 2014, when a hardy band of just 7,000 people took part, Wear Red Day has since achieved a stunning metamorphosis with more than 440,000 individuals registering to take part in 2022.
The crux of Wear Red Day is simple – all those taking part wear an item (or a full outfit) of red to show solidarity and to spark discussion, before snapping photos of their support and circulating on social media with the hashtag #WRD23.
At a time when there is so much negativity on social media sites, the trending of our hashtag of positivity shines a light on the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of like-minded people who are tired of misinformation and who actively celebrate diversity and inclusion.
We’ll also have some truly dramatic light-ups from the UK’s leading landmarks helping us to mark and celebrate Wear Red Day. Keep your eyes peeled for the amazing light displays at The London Eye, Warwick Castle, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, The Glasgow Hydro, London Heathrow, Legoland Windsor, Madame Tussauds and many more.
For those who take part and agree with what we do, we also ask you to make a small donation to Show Racism the Red Card to allow us to continue our struggle for a world where lives are no longer ruined by racism.
To register to celebrate with us and receive your free fundraising pack, you can visit out website here. Donations can be made via our JustGiving page or you can text ‘RED’ to 70470 to donate £1 (text costs donation amount + a standard rate message).
Chris Duffy is the Fundraising and Partnerships Coordinator at Show Racism the Red Card and the planner, organiser and executor of Wear Red Day, the charity’s principal day of fundraising and awareness across the UK. Based at their Head Office in the North East, Chris has been with the charity for six years and has overseen the exponential growth of the UK’s largest celebration of anti-racism.
IMPAct following SRTRC training:
- Students had a better understanding of what racism is.
- Students’ knowledge on appropriate terminology had increased.
- Students’ understanding of world view had improved.
- Students’ understanding of influences upon their own world view had greatly improved.
- 96% of teachers had significantly greater confidence to discuss racism with their students.
- 97.5% of teachers agreed that their understanding of the need for equality had increased.
- Post-workshop confidence in recognising discriminatory behaviour at 100%.
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