Young people of Belfast, the Irish FA, local Police and KickOff@3 representatives form a Circle of Silence, remembering those who have lost their lives to knife and hate crime. Unlike tournaments in England, and due to the singular history of the nation, the focus here is more complex and pervades society and local politics as a whole.
Generally knife crime is driven by fear and self-protection, Northern Ireland, however, is a uniquely troubled community historially based on religious grounds further complicated by racial diversity. Our first tournament in the province gave us an opportunity to learn by participating in a day dedicated to learning what we have in common rather than that which divides us, changing hearts and minds from this generation onward.
The current focus for Police Service NI and its partners is to address hate crime over sectarianism. KickOff@3 will continue to support their tireless focus on changing the old narrative into a legacy of peace and tolerance.