FOCUS: Lord Ouseley
HATRED APPEARS to be on the rise in Britain, if statistics on recorded hate crime and incidents are an accurate indicator of what is happening across communities.
According to Home Office figures for the past year, reported hate crimes in England and Wales had increased by 18 per cent from the previous year while under reporting is estimated to be six-fold.
Hatred makes a significant impact on our society, causing detriment to how some people are treated and, irreparable damage to community relations.
These worrying statistics are a cause for concern for everyone who believes in fairness and equality of opportunity for all and therefore have relevance for all involved in football where equality and diversity is being accorded a high priority for action.
Reported hate incidents in football have also risen dramatically, particularly through the medium of social media for abuse where hate-filled messages are widespread.
During the 2014/15 season, discrimination reports across all levels to Kick It Out increased by 38 per cent, with 42 per cent of reports occurring on social media.
Kick It Out, in partnership with other agencies and organisations, is aiming to raise awareness of this ever-growing issue within society, not just in football, to ensure that this disappointing trend is decreased and eventually removed.
Our main focus will be reaching out to fans and communities, engaging with them in their schools, colleges, football clubs and bringing people from different background to learn with and from each other about each other.
This is already happening to an extent but needs to intensify. Education is a powerful tool in combating discriminatory behaviour due to ignorance, prejudice, bias and hatred.
Without thought or knowledge, discrimination can infect and deeply affect any individual or group, creating discomfort and tensions amongst communities.
Through education, an understanding of different cultures can be attained allowing relationships to blossom between people from all backgrounds.
Kick It Out’s most recent Education Programme was launched in September 2014 with the aim of inspiring the next generation to challenge hate and to promote inclusivity.
Through this programme, the organisation has gauged and helped change behaviour and attitudes on a limited scale in tackling discrimination across the country.
We have seen students take part in initiatives supporting Kick It Out, generating ideas and actions which are helping progress the organisation’s message to a new audience.
Young people provide Kick It Out with the platform to deliver true equality in the future, and it is with that in mind that the organisation pushes forward with determination to increase engagement with schools, colleges and universities.
On 18 February, Kick It Out will be hosting a fundraising event at Stamford Bridge, home of Premier League champions Chelsea, for the Education Programme.
Sponsored by the Premier League, the event will highlight the positive work done thus far as well as highlighting the aims for future activity in the educational field.
Ballet Black, a professional ballet company for international dancers from Black and Asian descent, and the David Idowu Choir will provide entertainment.
Through education, present and future generations can learn to embrace diversity, tolerance and inclusion.
Young people must be enabled to live their lives and enjoy sport without the effects from and fear of prejudice ignorance, discrimination, hatred, harassment, abuse and violence.