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Play ON! e-Learning Series - Session #8 - Fostering Diversity and Combatting Racism in Soccer

By Staff, 04/25/21, 3:30PM EDT


The next session features Paul Martin, Director - Ontario, Canada Soccer Board of Directors, to highlight a leader's role in fostering diversity and combatting racism in soccer

Play. Inspire. Unite. 

Ontario Soccer's Play ON! eLearning Series presented by Respect in Sport continues on Thursday, April 29th, with an introductory presentation on Fostering Diversity and Combatting Racism by Paul Martin, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at Centennial College, where he is also an active member of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force. In his work, Paul helps students understand our world through his teachings on Global Citizenship - From Social Analysis to Social Action. 

Beyond his academic accolades, Paul, as a passionate soccer aficionado, also sports a significant soccer pedigree honed in over two decades of involvement. Currently, he serves as Director, Ontario on the Canada Soccer Board of Directors. Over the past six months, he was also a key contributor to the Ontario Soccer Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee. In addition, he is the President of Black Coaches Canada and an award winning, 3x National Championship Coach possessing a Canada Soccer National A-License.

He will take the audience on a journey from understanding the roots of historical racism and discrimination via an overview of Diversity and Inclusion to where we are today - at a cultural tipping point! Paul will focus on the power of diversity in sport to bring about change.

As we prepare to Return to Play, it is time to think about true Diversity. We as a community have an opportunity to level the playing field for all by addressing racism and providing opportunities for gender equality and inclusion. As soccer community leaders, we have the responsibility to ensure that our work and play environments are psychologically safe and genuinely inclusive. As our society moves increasingly towards multiculturalism, we must incorporate a diversified lens in our approach to community service.

Paul will discuss the vital work that the Ontario Soccer Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee recently accomplished and outline what we should be looking to expect in the future. Ontario Soccer is committed to making changes, and we all are a part of that change.

The COIVD-19 worldwide health pandemic has caused us all to face a myriad of hardships in a time of uncertainty. However,  it has also brought us the opportunity to plan and reset how we approach the game in the future. Do we continue with a “same old, same old” approach repeating mistakes of the past? Or do we embrace growth and change? Paul will empower the audience to revisit old paradigms and ways of thinking to bring about new solutions.

Throughout the session, Paul will share research and insights from recent publications and study findings on Diversity. What has been successful and what has not changed? We will examine our own bias, ideologies and behaviour and learn why they can be so harmful.

Furthermore, Paul will lead the audience through self-reflection posing pertinent questions: Why is Anti-Black Racism so important? What are Microaggressions and how do they harm? What power and privilege do we posses? Do we understand the identity and intersectionality of the audience that we may serve?  Am I a passive bystander and complicit in acts of racism sexism, classism, and ableism? 

Has your organization considered factors that contribute to the challenges faced by non-white racialized communities and minoritized groups?  We will look at tools to evaluate our ideologies, our organizations and our systems and work towards addressing the challenges to achieve the outcomes of access and opportunity for all through accountability. Join us for a meaningful discussion, as we evaluate where we are as a sport and look at new ways to move forward.  

Throughout the series from March 10th to April 29th, Ontario Soccer will offer a weekly online session with succinct and relevant insights and practical take-aways designed to appeal to a diverse cross-section of Ontario Soccer members and stakeholders (Clubs, Academies, Districts, Leagues, administrators, coaches, managers, volunteers, parents, players, officials, etc.).