12 Days of Christmas - Ben Johnson spreads Stop The Hate message
Following the launch of the Players’ Project in 2018, one of the many activities the players have been supporting is the Stop the Hate programme – run by the West Ham United Foundation in partnership with Show Racism the Red Card – whereby players have been taking part in interactive workshops with schoolchildren across East London to help raise awareness of and tackle racism and discrimination.
Since the Stop the Hate programme began in 2015 it has reached over 10,000 young people across East London, and more than half of those have been engaged in the past 18 months.
This academic year, backed by Basildon Council, the programme has expanded into Essex and as part of his role as an ambassador for Equality, first team player Ben Johnson joined one of the first workshops in the area, taking place at Basildon Academy.
"There are some hard-hitting topics that some people may not feel comfortable to speak about - I'm the same," said Johnson, whose call is the latest entry in the Hammers' 12 Days of Christmas community drive being held to mark the third anniversary of the Players’ Project, the ground-breaking concept where players from the Club’s men’s, women’s and Academy teams pledge their time to help local people and good causes..
"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."
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.
To find out more about the Foundation’s initiatives please contact [email protected]