Ahead of this weekend’s Erase Racism Round Bruce Djite discusses his passion for the joint FFA and PFA initiative and shares his insights into the invaluable work undertaken by All Together Now.
Q. Is this a cause you had long been passionate about?
BD: I have an interesting background, this is owing to where I have lived and have grown up and I have no doubt it is a blessing. I think it really helps you to see many situations from all different angles and you have a better understanding of what people are trying to say or do in different scenarios. One of the great benefits of embracing diversity is that diversity really opens up your mind. For me it comes naturally because of my background and the multiple countries I have lived in. I really believe in what All Together Now is doing and I am sure the organization is making some real changes to people’s lives. There is no place for racism in Australian football or the broader community and that is something I’m really passionate about.
Q. What role does football have to play in erasing racism from Australia?
BD: Football has always been a leader in a global sense. It would be silly for a game as diverse, dynamic and global as football to not use its significant presence to leverage that and try to make the community that we live in better, it would be a big miss if we didn’t try.
Q. Has football had a big impact on your views and beliefs?
BD: Football being such a multicultural sport broadens your horizons. As an example the last couple of years I have learnt a lot about Spain and different regions there, like Catalonia where the Catalan people are eager to have independence. I have heard it said before that if the world was a book then not travelling would be like reading just one page. You can choose to live in a bubble and be ignorant or you can choose to truly experience life. Football certainly helps individuals do just that.
Q. How do we ensure the Erase Racism Round has its greatest impact?
BD: The best and most effective way for any impact to be had is for the players to buy into it and I believe the players have done that. My understanding is the players are keen about this initiative. If we can engage the fans and the fans actively play their part in this round in particular as well as within society in general then we are well on the way on making a really positive impact on society.
Q. Why are the fans so important to the Erase Racism Round?
BD: The fans are the key stakeholders in all aspects of the game, including this round. As the key stakeholders their engagement is essential in what we are trying to achieve, which is a more tolerant Australia.
Q. Finally, how important is the Erase Racism Round for All Together Now?
BD: This is massive for the organisation. All Together Now is a charity, which is built on the good work of generous volunteers and is punching above its weight. From All Together Now’s perspective it’s all about using any money raised to not only enhance their current projects but also to create more programs and initiatives that are imperative to increasing society’s awareness. All Together Now’s projects and initiatives help create a more tolerant society. Money raised is just one metric of what we are trying to achieve. At the end of the day we are ultimately trying to make people more tolerant and to highlight the many benefits of multiculturalism, if we can do that that will be a big win. That is the end game.
Interview by Football Federation of Australia