IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Pupils learn to kick out racism

18 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Rachel Yankey meets some young fans at Friday’s event

MORE than 100 school children learnt how to challenge racism at an event at the Emirates stadium attended by ex-Arsenal players and both of Islington’s MPs.

Year 6 Gillespie Primary School student Stella said she was shocked when she heard ex-Arsenal women’s legend Rachel Yankey talk about a time when fans chanted monkey hoots at her in a match in Spain.

Ms Yankey said she was “hurt” and “confused” when a fan made monkey noises at her every time she touched the ball during an Arsenal Champions League tie.

Stella said: “I want to be a footballer like Rachel Yankey. I was shocked when she told the story about the monkey noises. It made me think, why are people so rude and mean?”

Daisy and Mia

Ms Yankey’s comments came days before the England men’s European qualifying match against Bulgaria was marred by racist chants from fans.

Islington Hate Crime forum chairman Colin Adams, who helped organise the event, said: “We’re throwing Bulgaria under the truck of racism, but it’s everywhere.

“It happens every week here in England.”

About 100 children from Ambler Primary School in Blackstock Road, Gillespie Primary School in Gillespie Road, and St John’s Highbury Vale CE Primary School in Conewood Street, attended the event, where they were given lessons from Islington’s LGBTQI+ rights group Forum+.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and winner of the BBC’s singing talent contest The Voice Jermain Jackman joined Ms Yankey in a panel discussion about racism at the Arsenal stadium on Friday.

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