"Discrimination is discrimination. It doesn't matter if it's your sexuality, or your color, you shouldn't (discriminate) at all", said Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, in his interview with the UN Human Rights Office on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (LINK). This day commemorates the killings of 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa on 21 March 1960.
"We need - as a collective - to take responsibility", said Sterling, a leading figure in football's fight against racism. "This is a new age where color can't define who you are".
Yet during the past year, incidents of racial abuse in football have sharply risen. Many experts believe that this increase mirrors an alarming rise of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, globally. Sterling emphasizes the importance of joining forces with other players to "lead a new pathway" to create lasting change.
Respecting diversity and embracing all cultures, with an open mind, is the best way to combat racism and hate speech today, said Sterling. "Don't judge a race from what you've heard… I don't feel a lot of people come into contact with a lot of different cultures. Once you learn about people's cultures, it's so amazing to be able to connect with them. What we need to do as a society is being open."
Sterling's engagement with the #FightRacism campaign is a significant contribution to the Office's efforts to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination.
For this year's observance of 21 March, the #FightRacism campaign will spotlight global figures, like Sterling, who are combating discrimination in sports, and will partner with the EuroLeague Basketball to promote a message of unity. In 2020, #FightRacism will highlight the advocacy of some leading figures of global popular culture – sports, music, fashion, movies, TV, amongst others – to advance equality and anti-discrimination.
Join us and take action to #FightRacism. Every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.
We thank Colossal Sports Management and Manchester City Club, for their invaluable support in making this interview possible.
Watch an excerpt of the interview below :