UK: Top footballers launch new anti-racism asylum video for schools

A Safe Place features top players Thierry Henry, David James, Ashley Cole, Shaka Hislop, Lomana Lua Lua and Shola Ameobi, together with England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. Also interviewed are young asylum-seekers and refugees, talking about their experience of seeking asylum in the UK and why they were forced to flee their homes.

Portsmouth FC’s Lomana Lua Lua, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking in A Safe Place, said:

“[Asylum Seekers] don’t come here to mess things up or be bad, they come for help.

“Whenever someone asks me to help asylum seekers I try to because I am an asylum seeker.”

Arsenal and France player Thierry Henry, speaking in A Safe Place, said:

“It is easy to talk about it when you’re a politician, but it’s different on the streets.”

The video aims to combat myths and stereotypes about asylum seekers and refugees and promote informed debate among young people.

Official statistics show that young people are over-represented as both perpetrators and victims of racial harassment.

A 2002 MORI poll conducted as part of Refugee Week showed that young people were startlingly ill-informed on asylum issues, believing on average that the UK takes over 30 per cent of the world’s refugees (in fact the UK takes less than 2%).

A Safe Place is aimed at young people aged 11 to 16 (Key Stages 3 and 4) and comes with an education pack for use in class. The pack contains a range of activities such as quizzes, discussion topics and classroom-based exercises on issues like media bias, stereotyping, race and diversity.

Ged Grebby of Show Racism the Red Card said:

“This is the first time Show Racism the Red Card has done a video to combat racism against asylum seekers and we were delighted with the response we got from professional footballers. “The video is a strong educational tool and will hopefully reach an audience of millions of people.”

The video and pack are available priced £10 from Show Racism the Red Card, PO Box 141, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear NE26 3YH tel. 0191 291 0160, or email: ged@theredcard.org .

Skaka Hislop, Portsmouth FC Goalkeeper, added:

“It's a small world we live in, and it's getting smaller. This may frighten some, but not me.

“As a number of far right elements try to lead us to believe otherwise, as this world becomes smaller, as Great Britain lives up to its name, I think it's an opportunity to rejoice in all that is different, in all that makes us unique, in all that makes us so alike. It's an opportunity to embrace complete strangers and call them brother or sister. It's an opportunity I don't want to miss.”

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