Marcus Rashford, a young Black leader at the forefront of national change
Marcus Rashford is a young Black leader at the forefront of national change. Inspired and driven by his own personal experiences, where he grew up in a single-parent household and faced struggles growing up, Rashford galvanised the government to address the issue of food poverty amongst disadvantaged families.
“My story to get here is all-too-familiar for families in England: my mum worked full-time, earning minimum wage to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table. But it was not enough. The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.”
The closure of schools during the Covid pandemic would leave many vulnerable and without enough food to eat. His open letter to MPs prompted the government to reverse their decision on not providing free school meals during the holidays. Rashford’s push for change led to children being given further access to free school meals for the six-week break, in the creation of a 120 million ‘Covid Summer food fund’. A move that would benefit masses of families across the country.
“Food poverty in England is a pandemic that could span generations if we don’t course correct now. Whilst 1.3 million children in England are registered for free school meals, one quarter of these children have not been given any support since the school closures were ordered.”
Recognition, honours, and good will mount for Rashford
The footballer’s fantastic work has been rewarded through multiple recognitions, with him being made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in the latter part of 2020. He was also given special recognitions at the Best FIFA Football awards and BBC Sports Personality of the year, for his influential role in helping tackle child food poverty.
Marcus Rashford receiving special recognition at BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards
At a time where the media narratives of young Black men and in his case footballers, still tends to be overly negative, Rashford is a beacon of hope and a great role model to many. He provides a voice for the working-class struggle and the Black population. But most importantly, he’s a fine example of how you can use your voice to change something you are passionate about.
Wave of philanthropy continues
Rashford continues the campaign to end food poverty and his work on other schemes to help disadvantaged families, striving to create more equality between social classes. He recently shared his experiences and wisdom in his own book, “You are a Champion” for the younger generation. It is based on advice on how to unlock your potential, find your voice and be the best version of yourself. This was an initiative to help children find the joys of reading. He provided several free copies to give out in primary schools to ensure all had access.
“I just really wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table. There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me.”
Through all he has done and continues to do for charity, it comes as no surprise that he found himself right at the top of this year’s list of philanthropy. A position that I am sure we’ll see him in frequently in the coming years.
Well done, Marcus!