Black History Month runs from Feb. 1-March 1, 2021. CanPL.ca will feature articles throughout the month profiling the Canadian Premier League’s many outstanding players of colour, as well as stories about their views on the importance of Black History Month.
FC Edmonton midfielder Kyle Porter carries the words – and maybe a melody or two – from his heroes wherever he goes.
The 31-year-old midfielder has highlighted musician Bob Marley and Martin Luther King Jr. as two of his heroes for Black History Month – as they both used their respective platforms to push for social justice.
“Martin Luther King Jr. stood for change, he stood for justice – back then he was fighting against what’s happening right now,” said Porter, referring to the Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent protests that occurred last summer, including at The CPL’s Island Games in PEI.
Porter has followed the example set by Dr. King and Marley in trying to bring about change, and in addressing the issue of racism and equality.
“No matter what walk I am in life, no matter what I’m doing, I can dream big and as long as I take the first step in faith, I can accomplish and do anything and promote change via my platform. To be the best person that I can possibly be, really,” Porter said.
Porter led his former team, York9 FC (now York United) in a series of powerful anti-racism movements last year, including this video which featured York players discussing heartbreaking instances of racism:
“These are things that us players are standing for, because what’s happening or what happened last Summer and is still happening today is unacceptable,” Porter said. “There’s there’s too much of a separation between the people in this world and Martin Luther King Jr. was the beacon of hope to change that in that moment in time.”
Porter, born to a Jamaican family in the Toronto suburbs, recalls dribbling a ball in his childhood home to the music of Bob Marley – one of Jamaica’s greatest exports and a pioneer in reggae music.
“My dad would be in the basement and he would be playing all types of Bob Marley music,” Porter recaled. “I was five, maybe six. Every time it came on it just it brought us to a point where we’re dancing. That was a big moment in my life for sure.”
Marley – who had an affinity for soccer – was a political force in the 1970s, using his music and lyrics for good.
“He not only used his platform, and his music, to spread love and fight for injustice… he used his music to motivate,” Porter said. “Marley is very special. His music is still listened to today.”
“He found so much joy, love, and passion through the game of football, too. That’s a huge inspiration to me, too.”