There are not many of them, the athletes who can boast of having folded a government. Yet this is what the 22-year-old player achieved in less than 24 hours. Monday, the British executive had confirmed the interruption during the summer of a voucher program of 15 pounds (16.70 euros) per child per week, implemented when the confinement forced schools and their canteens to be closed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly praised Rashford on Tuesday for his campaign after agreeing to extend it for six weeks. “I thank him for what he did. I think he is right to draw attention to this problem, “added the head of the British government. A tour de force led with great maturity and skill by the player, who avoided politicizing his approach.
The author also of a very good start to the season – he was one of the few satisfactions of Manchester United, who face Tottenham on Friday for the 30th day of the Premier League, with his 14 goals and 5 assists in 22 games -, he took advantage of the confinement to embark on a fight that is particularly close to his heart.
An Open Letter to all MPs in Parliament…#maketheUturn
Please retweet and tag your local MPs pic.twitter.com/GXuUxFJdcv
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 14, 2020
In an open letter to MPs and in the media, he told his own story as a black kid from a modest family in a poor suburb of south Manchester. “Understand this: without the kindness and generosity of the community around us, the Marcus Rashford you see today would not exist: a 22-year-old black man lucky enough to make a career playing the game I love “, Wrote the English international to the 38 selections.
Raised by his mother, Melanie, who worked hard to feed the siblings of five to which he belonged, he recounted the hours spent counting how much money the family could afford to spend in the local hard-discount store and l ‘incredible wealth represented by the possibility of buying seven yogurts, one for each day of the week.
“The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, no matter how hard my mother worked,” he said.
He knew all the tricks and clever ways to fill the plate by heart: food banks, soup kitchens, and even donations from neighbors when there was nothing left to put on the table at dinner. And if at 11 years old, his mother let him go to the Manchester United training center a year before the normal age, it is because there at least three meals a day were assured for him.
Before this open letter, he had already set an example by mobilizing on behalf of the FareShare association which fights against food waste and malnutrition. In April he launched a fundraiser on social media which had raised 134,000 GBP (149,000 EUR) in a few days, which he had raised to bring the sum to 400,000 GBP (445,000 EUR).
He then pledged to collect GBP 20 million (EUR 22.3 million) in donations to allow 3 million meals to be distributed to disadvantaged people, a goal achieved by the end of last week.
Obviously not all of the reactions were positive
Former Sun editorial writer Kathie Hopkins challenged him on Twitter to ask him if he didn’t think “Women should think about how they’re going to feed a child before they have it?” ” “I don’t want to pay to feed other people’s children. Do it, you, ”she added.
But the striker, who has promised that he will continue his fight on behalf of the poor, knows that he has gained a new dimension by making an impression off the field. Even local rival Manchester City cracked a laudatory tweet: “Great job, Marcus Rashford. You make Manchester proud ”and, for a short moment at least, reconciled.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 16, 2020
Citizens’ coach Pep Guardiola also slid a nice tackle to the government, which had initially refused Rashford’s request: “Maybe these stupid people don’t believe we are human too. We may have the same opinion as a nurse, a doctor, or even a politician. We are humans and why should we not give our opinion when you believe you can make a better society when you are a public figure? ”
Liverpool also joined the social union movement with a strong message on its Twitter account: “Children in our region will benefit from this remarkable model. Good kisses from Liverpool. ”
Children in our region will benefit because of the actions of this remarkable role model ❤️
From Liverpool With Love. https://t.co/mSatwzZZ2E
— Liverpool FC (at 🏠) (@LFC) June 16, 2020