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Joe Fraser on Black Lives Matter, Lewis Hamilton inspiration and fighting for change

"My message to anyone still wanting to abuse - face to face or online - is it's time to educate yourself"

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Joe Fraser says the hate and negative energy baffles him but is determined to help change overcome racism

Joe Fraser has endured racism all his life and now, as a gymnastics world champion, is facing it almost daily on social media.

But as the Black Lives Matter movement builds momentum and seeing role models like Lewis Hamilton raise his fist on the podium and Anthony Joshua speak so passionately, the 21-year-old from Birmingham remains optimistic the world can unite.

The Sky Sports Scholar, who became the first black male world gymnastics champion last year, opened up to Adam Smith about his experiences as a black athlete, his hopes and inspirations and delivers a big message for those with a hateful and negative agenda.

"Being a black man and seeing what's been going on in America is devastating. It cuts deep.

I've also been talking to my parents about what they've gone through, as well as my own experiences. It's such a shame it's still going on. I also had to take myself off social media because I was really struggling.

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I suffered my first racist abuse when I was young, and I just didn't really understand. I was confused. My parents broke it down for me. I even got a message yesterday - someone being racist towards me.

But I'm just confused why they feel the need or the want to still put out that negative energy towards people for no reason.

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Gymnast Joe Fraser says Lewis Hamilton has inspired him to win and use his platform to fight racism

I wouldn't want my son or daughter growing up where racism is around so I want to do as much as I can for the Black Lives Matter movement. That's my huge motivation right there.

Changes are happening which I'm grateful for but it needs to happen much quicker.

I want to do as much as I can, to push and keep the movement going. I know I've got other athletes in my sport that I know want to do the same and keep it going.

Having these people on board, I've got so many different people around me constantly, so hearing their opinions and how they want to help, it brings joy to me.

Knowing that we've come together so much over this period, 2020 is the year of education, that's how I see it now.

We just need to keep educating ourselves and use this time. I know everyone is still doing their things at home over this lockdown, but we can really come together as much as we are distant.

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Joe Fraser believes 2020 is the year of education over racism and lockdown can teach communities to come together

Seeing Lewis Hamilton do what he's doing in Formula One, the footballers, Imani Lansiquot (fellow Scholar) and Anthony Joshua, it definitely makes me want to do as much as I can in my sport.

Lewis is such a role model. Seeing everything he's done, it's very motivational.

Growing up I had a role model in gymnast Louis Smith. Being able to see everything he was achieving, it's nice to see someone that looks like you doing as well as they are.

These are the things that make me want to be the next role model, so I want to do as much as I can. Standing on that podium, doing what Lewis was doing, I think it was amazing.

Speaking right now, like this, I'm just very grateful and I'm excited to see how far we can really use this power.

This year 2020 is not cancelled, it's an opportunity for us all to be educated and learn on these different topics.

My message to anyone still wanting to abuse - face to face or online - is it's time to educate yourself. Use this time to read the news, watch TV about it, read books and just learn. Speak to people who have experienced racism or speak to people you have abused.

This is a great opportunity to better yourselves and push forward. Let's just all push together."

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