Diversero was born out of a desire to give a voice to children and youth around the world.
Hey, feel free to decide for yourself how attractive and realistic our goals are for you. However ... We want to change the world.
We are so diverse ... Old white men do diversity? Yes, we often have to smile about it too 😉
Children are great and it is so incredibly painful when a little person in the very closest family circle has to pass away far too early due to illness.
FC Internationale Berlin, which has received several awards for its integration and inclusion work, has a very large youth section and on a summer day in Berlin on 04 July 2021 hosted a benefit match in favor of the JoMa project – a project in memory of Joshua and Maren. Two children who bravely fought for their lives, and in doing so, took paths all their own.
So I came to the soccer field, where I always play soccer anyway. And standing on the field was my old friend Claus, whom I hadn’t seen in years. In the midst of the joy of seeing him again, Claus introduced me to two guys – Sven and Max, who were on site as a camera crew for the charity game.
Even in our first conversation, ideas for possible joint projects came immediately – a documentary or something else. We exchanged business cards and I was glad to have participated in the game.
In the evening, we all sat together with the other ex-professional soccer players from Union Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach in Ralf Zacherl’s restaurant and had a great evening.
Sven got in touch shortly afterwards and I explained to him what we do in the Association for Diversity in Sports and Society in terms of educational work for self-confidence and cosmopolitanism. Among other things, it was about the problem that gay professional soccer players are still hiding for fear of being bullied and losing their jobs.
How could these hiding games be resolved? Is it really only about homophobia in professional sports? No, there are other problems and discrimination, like racism or sexism, and of course it can affect not only footballers, but anyone and everyone.
In parallel, I told that in the book “Catching Hate Offside: The A to Z of racism and other forms of discrimination in football” – by two Spanish journalists Salva R. Moya and Marce Arellano García, published by Editorial Círculo Rojo – I was listed as a leading campaigner against homophobia in soccer worldwide, along with world stars such as Lilian Thuram, Dani Alves, Paul Ince, Joan Laporta, Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos, Fatma Samoura, Guus Hiddink, Shinsuke Nakamura and others, who in turn told their stories and, above all, how they successfully overcame or dealt with bullying.
The first interactive presentations on this were packed because people have never had these stars presented like this before. I felt it could be of great value – actually for all children, teens and adults worldwide.
A few days later, on July 28, 2021, for a networking meeting of the local Berlin-based business network “Last Wednesday of the Month”, we met again with some of the participants and supporters of the benefit.
After a great breakfast characterized by exchange, we then met with Claus at Berio and I got to know André. Right away, we felt just as great a connection as when we met Sven and Max, and it was immediately clear that we were going to make a difference together. The initial trigger was finally the book “Catching Hate Offside: The A to Z of racism and other forms of discrimination in soccer” with all its moving and incredibly strong life stories of well-known personalities in soccer.
So there were these wonderful people with all the things that moved them, and we wanted to use these stories as an occasion for something bigger. That’s how the idea came about to build something that goes beyond professional soccer – with similar stories from other areas where people meet.
In other sports, in art and music, or simply in everyday life, equally inspiring life stories can be found. The stimulation and inspiration as well as the exchange among each other would help many people worldwide.
In the weeks and months that followed, we met regularly. We put our heads and hearts together, shaping our vision, mission statement, and values we found critical to the cause.
All who celebrate and live diversity are Heros – the Diversity Heros and the Diversero Movement were born. This encyclopedia of international anti-bullying strategies is something everyone can use, and we want to show how to confidently celebrate and live diversity while having fun.
Your Marcus Urban
Special thanks for the exchange and inspiration go to Bertold Höcker, Salva R. Moya and Marce Arellano García, the students from Humboldt-Gymnasium Eichwalde and Amélie Lange.