The deputy mayor of Newcastle City Council has expressed her pride as ex-Newcastle United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was awarded Freedom of Newcastle.
Councillor Karen Kilgour said Hislop "used his status as a black professional football player" to challenge racism in society during a ceremony at the Civic Centre on Friday night.
Hislop was subjected to a sickening racist attack by youths and from there helped found Show Racism the Red Card which has grown into the UK’s biggest anti-racism education charity.
Show Racism the Red Card is celebrating its 26th anniversary this year. Since 1996 more than 850,000 young people have taken part in the charity’s anti-racism workshops.
Coin Kilgour said racism towards football has "not gone away" and said the work of Show Racism the Red Card continues to be "vital".
She said: "Shaka Hislop realised he could use his status as a black professional football player to make a difference and through education, could challenge racism in society
"He and his fellow teammates spoke at Newcastle schools about his experiences and from that grew what is now an internationally-recognised, although I'm really proud to say still North East-based, charity.
"As you have seen over the last few years, racism towards footballers and in society generally has not gone away. The abhorrent racist abuse suffered online by young black England players following defeat in the Euro 2020 final is proof of that.
"Our footballers continue to take a knee before each match to highlight and condemn racism and racist discrimination.
"The Black Lives Matter movement is as important and relevant as ever and the work of Show Racism the Red Card continues to be vital. And it is in this context that I was absolutely delighted to nominate Shaka Hislop for the freedom of our great city."
Hislop told Chronicle Live today: "It means an awful lot to me. As much of an honour as this is though my mind goes back 25 years when this campaign started.
Speaking about being awarded freedom of the city, Shaka said: "This (freedom of the city) was not our motivation, it was going into schools and communities with my team-mates, and trying to give back. This was a city where we were plying our trade and raising our kids.
"To come from that to where we are now and see everything this campaign has achieved in the last 25 years has been surreal in some respects. It is an incredible honour to receive this award on behalf of so many people that have contributed."
SOURCE: Newcastle Chronicle