'Why is ending racism a debate?'

Darcy Bourne is an 18-year-old athlete in the Great Britain Elite Development Programme, and an image of her from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London was shared globally across social media.

As a result she spoke with the Daily Telegraph, BBC Radio 5 Live and a number of other media outlets to share her reflections of the protests, conversations started by the image and her own experiences within hockey. Read below for a transcript from her interviews.

She said, "The whole experience has been surreal but it’s been really positive as well.

"Of course, the most amazing aspect was when Martin Luther King III shared the photo. I don’t think anyone could have meant more in terms of this movement; only perhaps Barack Obama. To realise a photo of you is having that kind of effect is amazing.

"Like everyone, I saw the footage of George Floyd and it was impossible not to feel strongly about it. It was truly disgusting. My dad is black, but that in itself was not the reason alone for going to the protests. No matter what your background is, something needs to change. So I went to London on Sunday; I had been badgering my parents about going, they were worried about the threat of Coronavirus but saw how strongly I felt and decided I could go. I made the sign myself, I just thought it was a simple message in terms of all we should be talking about. There should be no argument.

"I was a bit nervous on the way there because it’s such an emotional topic, but quite quickly I saw the unity and mutual respect every had for each other; we were all there for the same reason. It was incredibly moving just being there, the power of the movement with people coming together, fighting for one cause, fighting for black lives.

"There were a lot of photographers there, quite a few wanted pictures of my sign. The one that most people will have seen was taken by Misan Harriman, and when I first saw it posted by the editor of British Vogue I really said 'wow.' Of course I never expected it to go this far, but it shows the power of social media. No matter how big your platform, you can make a difference. There were so many people who shared it; Lewis Hamilton, David & Romeo Beckham, Bella Hadid, TS7, New York Times, Elle Australia and so many more. When Dr King’s son posted it, honestly I was shaking. I’ve had hundreds if not thousands of messages which were so inspirational. People were asking me for advice which was eye-opening and like I say I was thankful and slightly overwhelmed to have an impact. 

"I had conversations with celebrities as well, a long talk with model Martha Hunt in the States, she’s got something like three million followers. I’m actually going to university in the USA next year which has made everything that’s been going on feel even more personal. I also spoke for a long time with Sarah Evans, she’s in the GB senior programme and we both play at Surbiton., she’s captain of the women’s team. Where we live, there’s not a lot of discussion about race so it was great to talk to her. 

"There’s a lack of representation across hockey but in all my time in hockey I’ve never seen or experienced any racism. Hockey is very accepting to people whether it’s a different race, gender or sexuality. Hockey doesn’t reach a wide audience all the time which doesn’t help reach new people, so if there are problems they are deeper than just sport alone. 

"It’s obvious there are a limited number of black role models in the game; Rhys Smith in the men’s senior programme is doing an incredible job with Hockey Inner City though and is inspirational, no matter which background you’re from. As young people you look up to people who look like you. I did athletics to a high level and always followed KJT; hockey maybe doesn’t have someone like that at the moment. But hockey was always so welcoming to me; I could’ve chosen another sport but hockey was very open. 

"I’d love to make it to senior international level and if I do then I hope to be a role model to youngsters myself. I’ve seen it at Surbiton, there are a couple of BAME guys in the senior men’s team, but no women senior to me. However I’ve done some coaching in the younger groups and there is significantly more diversity there. I can only speak to my experience, and without doubt the sport has a long way to go, but we’ve already got a good base in terms of how open the game is.

"I think overall, the tragedy of George Floyd has opened up people’s eyes, I’m just sorry that had to be the start of it. We can use this time to come together and fight for equality, and we have an incredible opportunity. We can spread a message and inspire a younger generation of black people, whether that’s in life, or in this case in sport as well. We want people to know that matter where you are, you’ll be accepted."