Portsmouth Football Club and the city council join forces to launch new anti-hate video

FOOTBALL players, council leaders and city residents have today united as one in a bid to tackle racism and discrimination.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 12:00 pm
Majid Dhana reciting 'Illuminated Voices' in Portsmouth anti-discrimination film

In an effort to rally the city against hatred, Portsmouth Football Club has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council to produce a hard-hitting video.

Supported by Pompey in the Community, the film stars prominent members of Portsmouth FC, fans and a city poet who penned the poem that is read out in the film.

The recording was prompted by a rise in hate crimes nationally during the coronavirus pandemic – as well as the high-profile incidents aimed at black England football stars following the Euro 2020 penalty shootout.

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This included three under-18 Portsmouth FC Academy players released from the club after racist messages were posted about the England players in a Snapchat group chat.

Its release today comes at the start of National Hate Crime Awareness Week and during Black History Month.

Portsmouth poet Majid Dhana, who has lived in the city since 2005, wrote the poem titled 'Illuminated Voices' to help unify the city against this trend.

While Pompey’s manager Danny Cowley, along with some of the players and fans, were filmed speaking the words of the poem in different locations in Portsmouth.

Councillor Dave Ashmore, who heads up community safety at the city council, hoped the video would resonate with residents.

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He said: ‘This year's theme for Black History Month is Proud To Be and I'm proud to be part of this great city. Majid's poem is Portsmouth to the core. We are a culturally diverse city and that should be celebrated - it makes us who we are.

‘Discrimination of all forms is unacceptable in an inclusive society. Portsmouth is a close-knit city with strong bonds between people of all backgrounds.

‘This film will help to heal the wounds caused by the pandemic in which people became less tolerant during lockdown.

‘This Black History Month, Hate Crime Awareness Week and beyond, let's stand as one and silence the voices of hate.’

Councillor Suzy Horton, deputy leader, said: ‘Hatred and intolerance is caused by a minority of people in Portsmouth but it can have a disproportionate impact on many.

‘Portsmouth is a strong city with a great history of unity and this collaboration between Portsmouth City Council and Pompey is a wonderful way of showing this unity.’

Majid said the poem was inspired by his own experiences of other people in the city.

He added: ‘Portsmouth is a wonderful place to live, it is welcoming and diverse but occasionally people are intolerant.

‘We can support each other by illuminating the voices of love and tolerance which will drown out the haters. We are on the same team, together we will win.’

The video has been launched today on Pompey’s social media channels. It is also available on Portsmouth City Council’s YouTube channel and, on Monday, at portsmouth.gov.uk/blackhistorymonth

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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