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Johnson and West Ham driving home equality message

6 Dec 2021

Hammers defender speaks to local schoolchildren about challenging discrimination

For the last six years, the West Ham United Foundation has been working in local schools to help young people challenge discriminatory behaviour as part of their Stop The Hate programme.

West Ham players are keen supporters of the initiative and recently Ben Johnson took part in a remote workshop at The Basildon Academy, sharing his experiences and inspiring the students to talk about racism and equality.

"There's some hard-hitting topics that some people may not feel comfortable to speak about - I'm the same," Johnson told BBC Match of the Day.

"But it's something that needs to be out in the open and the platform that I have, I am privileged to be in this position and I really want to make a difference."

Encouraging allyship

Stop The Hate, which was launched in partnership with Show Racism The Red Card (SRTRC), has engaged around 10,000 young people so far and SRTRC ambassador Leroy Rosenior hopes that by talking frankly about issues in the workshops, those students will be encouraged to challenge discrimination when they see it.

"It's important that young people get educated on this because they get it, they want to talk about it, they're open and they want to ask the difficult questions," he said.

"When you're prepared to have those uncomfortable conversations, you get really positive results and that's what young kids do. They're the ones that will educate us."

The SRTRC activity is just one strand of the equality, inclusion and diversity work being delivered by the Foundation which also supports the PL's No Room For Racism initiative.

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