Thurs 8th October

Athlete Activism: sport and society
Date: Thurs 8th October
Time: 6pm
Venue: Facebook

In September 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest against police brutality and racism. He received both public praise and backlash. Athlete activism can be traced back to ancient civilisations and is seeing a resurgence, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and other political issues such as the proposed scrapping of free school meals here in the UK. Whether we believe politics should be kept out of sport or not, it can’t be denied that these athletes are, more and more, using their global platform to draw our attention to and raise our awareness of the issues affecting people today.

Joining WoW’s Black History Month to discuss athlete activism are former Liverpool player John Barnes, Professor Emeritus of at the University of Berkeley, California Dr Harry Edwards and local author of Pitch Black, Emy Onuora.

Professor Emeritus at the University of Berkeley, California, Dr. Harry Edwards has a long and storied history of activism focused on developments at the interface of sport, race and society. He called for a Black athlete boycott of the United States 1968 Olympic team to dramatize the racial inequalities and barriers facing black people in sport and society. He was later a consultant on issues diversity for all three major sports. He has received dozens of awards and honours, including several honorary doctorate degrees and has been honoured by the University of Texas which has established the “Dr. Harry Edwards Lectures”, a permanent series of invited lectures on themes related to sport and society.  He has written scores of articles and four books:  The Struggle That Must Be, Sociology of Sports, Black Students, The Revolt of the Black Athlete.

Voted by a worldwide poll of supporters, John Barnes was named the greatest player in Liverpool history. He ammased nearly 600 league appearances for Watford, Liverpool, Newcastle and Charlton before hanging the boots up. Voted twice for the Football Writers’ Association Player of the year, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005. He also won two First Division titles, two FA Cups and the League Cup with Liverpool.




Author of Pitch Black: The Story of Black British FootballersEmy Onuora has an MA in Ethnic Studies and Race Relations from the University of Liverpool and has lectured extensively on the issues of Race and Sport within higher education. Emy is also Co-Author of Great War To Race Riots alongside Writing on the Wall Co-Director Madeline Heneghan, which archives the plight of the black seamen, labourers and ex-servicemen left destitute in Liverpool after the Great War and how increased tensions and recessions boiled over into the 1919 race riots in seaports across Britain.