This is Everyone's Game - Demi Stokes
Audio described with transcript
Demi Stokes: My name is Demi Stokes. I play for Manchester City Women and I am a left-back.
Sharna Jackson: Where did you grow up then?
Demi Stokes: I grew up in South Shields, but I was actually born in Birmingham.
Sharna Jackson: So what was South Shields like?
Demi Stokes: To be fair, the estate I lived on, it was quite rough, the estate we moved onto. As much as it wasn't the best estate everyone made do with what they had, and were happy.
Sharna Jackson: So when did you first know, you wanted to be a footballer?
Demi Stokes: It was in school that, I was quite young. I think I was about seven. But, I just really enjoyed it. And it's quite funny, when you're young and in my head I was like, I just want to play football.
Sharna Jackson: The contribution that black people have made to the game has shaped where it is today, absolutely. Why do you think it's important that we showcase this?
Demi Stokes: We are footballers but as well we've also got another job. Like, use our platform and showcase that. I think for younger people because I think obviously still now it's still, it's still an issue. And even for me now, I'm 28 and it's only probably now, where I am actually going, ‘Actually, I need to speak about it. Do you know what I mean, just being black, isn't enough?’ And also why someone might wear something or why someone speaks the way we speak. It's all because it's an understanding. And I think the more we become comfortable and have conversations and actually you don't have to agree, but you can understand and to understand, is what everyone needs.
Sharna Jackson: We can celebrate those differences, but, just be a bit chilled out about it.
Demi Stokes: It's very sad that we're still having to have this conversations. But I think until, I myself, you, or anyone, black, Chinese, white, anyone. We have to, we have to come together and it's not about you know, having fights and you know being nasty towards it. It's just about actually, for this moment black people needs everyone's help.
Sharna Jackson: Have you ever experienced racism within your life, or in your career?
Demi Stokes: I actually experienced it in my first ever game. So I played on an all-girls team and it was in an all-boys league.
Sharna Jackson: And how did it make you feel? I know that sounds like such a ridiculous question. But did it, it didn't put you off the game, clearly?
Demi Stokes: No, no, yes from what I remember, I just kind of got on with it. It like was alright, I've told the ref, they've done something about it by taking him off and actually he's quite understood that you can't do that because he was crying and he said sorry. But I think it's just about like challenging it and actually saying no, no kind of thing. But yes, it's not nice whether you're 8 or 28, or you're 40. It doesn't matter still, it's still not nice.
Sharna Jackson: How important is it for young people to understand the value of a diverse society?
Demi Stokes: Yes, I think it's important and that's why I said like, me as a black athlete. Like, I've got a job to do because even still like now there's probably things I don't know about my own race, about my own culture. Or even probably about like, you know my own family, on my dad's side. So I think everyone has a responsibility to help. Which is the most important thing.