Former Socceroo and human rights activist Craig Foster was the headline speaker at an event focused on the intersection of sport and activism.
Athletes have long used their platforms for advocacy. From the 1936 attempt to boycott the Berlin Olympics to Mohammad Ali refusing to serve in Vietnam in 1967, to the anti-Apartheid campaign to exclude South Africa from international sport to Cathy Freeman draping herself in the Aboriginal flag at the 1994 Commonwealth Games — sport and social justice have often been intertwined.
In November 2023, students at Catholic and independent schools in Sydney were lucky enough to hear from Australian sports star turned human rights advocate Craig Foster. The former Socceroos Captain was the keynote speaker at Fair Play: Exploring the Interaction Between Sport, Social Justice and Human Rights. The event was hosted by the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education.
Teenagers are not easy to impress, but the audience of high schoolers was entranced by Foster. There was no fidgeting, chatting or scrolling. The students listened to his every word, then lined up to ask as many questions as time would allow.
A passionate and animated speaker, Foster encouraged the students to find their voice and fight for change. “It’s within every one of you,” he told them.
Social justice is like a muscle, said Foster. “You exercise it and it gets stronger.” You may start with one small act, he said, but before long, you’ll realise that wasn’t so hard and you’ll want to do more, go further.