In the aftermath of the Euro 2020 football tournament, we note with great dismay that racist attacks were directed against three African players on the English Team: Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
Throughout the tournament, these talented young men received high praise and ‘captured the imagination of the nation’. Yet, in response to the English team’s loss to Italy, those praises quickly eroded into vitriol, xenophobia and racist bigotry, revealing the prejudices that continue to plague England and too many other European societies.
We acknowledge that this affliction has lingered this long for the very reason that many European international and national governmental organizations and agencies, like the British government and UEFA, have been more comfortable offering tokenism rather than committing honestly and seriously to the cause of eliminating racism from our world. This is reflected in the continued refusal of the British government to respond positively to the letter of the Africans Rising movement as part of our #ReRightHistory Campaign.
When Africans Rising launched our #ReRightHistory campaign, we did so with the recognition that the healing of those societies who have benefited historically from the brutal domination and harsh exploitation of the Africans and who continue to profit from the perpetuation of racist systems starts with an honest acknowledgement of past wrongs and a serious commitment to make amends for them, just as the unburdening of African communities requires it.
We therefore use this moment to again demand the British and other European governments to correct for the wrongs of the past by honestly acknowledging the harm and human cost of slavery and colonialism, establishing truth and reconciliation commissions, cancelling all African debts and delivering reparations.
We demand that UEFA, FIFA, CAF and other football governing agencies use their platforms to advance the cause of eliminating racism by educating its officials and the patrons of their games on the evils of racism. We demand that accountability and recompense be ensured for every act of racism that arises during or after football games.