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Ben Cajee at Holy Trinity Primary School in Merseyside for the Premier League Draw Together challenge

Audio described with transcript


[Ben Cajee] Today, the Premier League has asked me to join pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School in Merseyside for the launch of a very special challenge.

As part of the Premier League’s No Room for Racism initiative, we’re going to be encouraging conversation in the classroom on how we can challenge discrimination and be an ally to others.

We’ll be asking pupils to create a piece of artwork that demonstrates this.

So I’ve got my pen ready, so let’s go and surprise them!

Dealing with racism when I was at school was really hard.

You know it happened in places where I was supposed to feel safe.

So it happened at school, it happened in the playground, it happened on the football pitch, it happened on the cricket pitch.

And then you're learning from a really young age that people are being cruel to you and saying things that are mean and meant to hurt you based on the colour of your skin that you can obviously do absolutely nothing about and that's really upsetting and hard to deal with when you're five, six, seven years old.

All of those things that you guys have said in terms of feeling alone and not wanted, and that you're different and that you feel left out and upset and hurt, and all of that stuff, and angry at times as well, because it's really hard.

If you are being called horrible things and told that you don't belong, that massively affects your confidence.

I remember playing in a game when I was sixteen, year eleven at school and someone said something, and my mates stood up for me and they told our coach, our manager and it got dealt with.

And I still remember that. It felt like, this isn't OK and we're going to deal with it and we're going to support you, like we support all of our team-mates.

[Helen Raley-Williams] It really is great to see people like that speaking out. You know the children feel probably more empowered to see people speaking out to say yes, it's okay and it's acceptable to speak out, to say no stop. I don't want you to talk like that any more.

[Ben Cajee] So it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, what language you speak. I think it's really important to believe in who you are and what you're about.

And try and be confident in your own skin. But if something happens that upsets you or worries you, to know there are people you can talk to, whether it's your friends, or if you're at school your teachers.

Or maybe your parents or grandparents because dealing with anything by yourself that's upsetting you is always really difficult.

[Child] Basically I'm going to say the same thing. It's like someone you can trust, and you know won't say anything mean to you.

[Ben Cajee] Yeah, they'd support you right and have your back. So you could speak to them openly about what's going on for you.

[Helen Raley-Williams] They'll go home and they will spread the message of it's important not to discriminate people and stand up for anything that you see that you're not happy with.

[Ben Cajee] People have said horrible stuff about me online, particularly when I started in television.

I found that really, really, really tough. But someone's words, kind words can lift you up, help you out, make you feel good.

If you can make a difference in a positive way and have a positive impact to make people feel better about themselves and what they're doing.

You know, that's the kind of world that I want to live in.