‘My Pitch’ promotes equality, diversity and inclusion
Players, staff, supporters and community participants have come together to release a poem created on behalf of West Ham United by local poet Mr Gee; highlighting the Club’s ongoing commitment to drive equality, diversity and inclusion.
The poem’s release reflects how equality is embedded throughout the club and forms part of a range of ongoing Club initiatives, including the Club’s Black History Month activities in October, the women’s and men’s first team players taking the knee at the start of every fixture and the Club’s continued community work with partners like Show Racism the Red Card.
Supported by the staff equality forum, 12 individuals took part in the reading of the poem, conveying the drive for equality.
Mr Gee spoke about the creation of the poem, saying: “I’ve had a long-standing partnership with West Ham United and I’ve seen first-hand the incredible work they do across the community, particularly through the Foundation. So, when I was approached about delivering a poem which would convey their values regarding equality, particularly linked to tackling racism, I was delighted to be able to assist.
“We discussed the theme of the poem being about ‘My Pitch’ and how that would be a metaphor, using the football field to represent the world we live in and also West Ham United’s stance and bid for an equal society, and then it grew from there.”
The Foundation is using the poem across its projects, encouraging children to recognise, understand and challenge prejudicial actions and behaviours. Additionally, schoolchildren and young players have been tasked with creating their own version of the ‘My Pitch’ poem, projecting their calls for an equal society.
My pitch holds a worthy promise,
And it's a promise of two halves,
To tackle the inequality of its future,
It must acknowledge the inequality of its past.
My pitch was born from generations of green pastures,
And decorated with several white lines,
But it embraces all races and classes,
To come & play under one blue Sky.
My pitch is always in pursuit of Justice,
To promote togetherness and fair play,
Because it knows the ugliness of prejudice,
Can only stain its beautiful game.
Thus my pitch must be built from sacrifice,
For levelling the field requires work,
So let's maintain its worthy promise,
And protect its hallowed turf.