Sunderland stars Jozy Altidore and Adam Johnson help Show Racism the Red Card

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SAFC stars have given school pupils a lesson in diversity.

Six former and current players sat on a panel to answer questions at a Show Racism the Red Card event at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

Tia Simmons, front left, 11, from East Boldon Primary School with Daniel Stanton and Abgeena Nasir from Hadrian Primary School, South Shields, and Sunderland AFC players Jozy Altidore and Adam Johnson at a Show racism the Red Card event held at the Stadium of Light.

Tia Simmons, front left, 11, from East Boldon Primary School with Daniel Stanton and Abgeena Nasir from Hadrian Primary School, South Shields, and Sunderland AFC players Jozy Altidore and Adam Johnson at a Show racism the Red Card event held at the Stadium of Light.

The group, which boasted current first-team players Jozy Altidore and Adam Johnson, spoke to children from East Boldon Junior School, and Hadrian’s Primary School, South Shields.

The Q&A was the first that striker Altidore has attended for the anti-racism campaign in the UK, and he was pleased to be involved.

“They are the future,” he said. “So it’s important to help educate them about the importance of anti-racism.

“And it’s always a pleasure because some of those guys are going to be important in the future, so it’s important for them to understand what goes on in the world.”

The American was joined by former Sunderland captain Gary Bennett, former Middlesbrough player Dean Gordon, ex-Leicester star Trevor Benjamin, and former NUFC player Richard Offiong.

The North East education manager for Show Racism the Red Card, Jeff Morgan, said it was “brilliant”.

“The questions some of the kids ask, like ‘what would you tell your young self about racism,’ you wouldn’t get from anyone else,” he said. “It’s fantastic to have the players here – Jozy as a black American man, who can give a different perspective on racism, and Adam as a role model of a white man.”

The event coincided with the launch of Sunderland University Student’s Union’s Diversity Month, which will run throughout November.

Jeff, said: “It’s fantastic that it links in with Diversity Month.

“We have a good relationship with the university, and with the football club, so it’s great that it’s come together like this.”

A Diversity Month event was also held on the roof of the National Glass Centre where Age UK Tai Chi instructor Ken Baker taught a half hour class to a windswept group of about a dozen people.

Student’s Union student coordinator Jan Spalek, said: ”Every year the event is growing. We have people from all over the world coming to Sunderland University and they all say how nice the people are, and the city is, and it’s about making them feel welcome.”