In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a program of activities to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On this occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organized annually.
This week celebrates the importance of communities and people worlwide coming together and striving toward racial equality and tolerance.
According to the UN, “knowledge and information on the diversity of human races, ethnicity and customs contribute to overcoming racism and is a conduit for a better understanding, tolerance and acceptance.”
This week we hope to inspire everyone to TAKE ACTION and to commit to a world free from racial discrimination!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
This year’s theme is “Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today”
For the past half-century, there has been considerable progress in the fight against racism and a rise of a global movement for equality. However, a lot still needs to be done, as the Convention says, “Yet, as history and current events attest, racial discrimination still presents a clear danger to people and communities in all regions.”
If we are serious about ending racial discrimination and addressing racism in a sustainable way, we must produce the conditions to promote it.
Today we stand in solidarity with everyone who is struggling against racism and discrimination, and encourage you and your family and friends to open yourselves up to learning about historical tragedies, and seeing how we can use these and turn them into future triumphs.
There is no room for racial discrimination. Let’s take action and end it now.
Below are some activities and resources available to mark the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination:
- The UN official Programme of Activities
- Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today
Learning from historical tragedies is key to strengthen the global fight against racism International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Saturday 21 March 2015
- Film Guide-The Help: Adapted from a best-selling and popular book club novel, The Help provides a disturbing and ultimately hopeful message in its portrayal of Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. It tells the story of Aibileen and Minny, two African American maids, who agree to share their experiences as domestic workers with Skeeter, a wealthy young white woman seeking to make it as a journalist and grieving the disappearance of the African-American maid who raised her.
- Reflections on Ending Racism: Various Church leaders have spoken out about the evil of racism and the need to eradicate it in the thoughts and actions of each person as well as in the soul of our society. This resource collects significant quotes from nine different documents and places them in a context for reflection, discussion and prayer.
- Share Our Pride: A history of Aboriginal culture in Australia
- Recognise our Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians
- Fact Sheet on Environmental Racism: This two-page resource provides background information and facts about the nature and prevalence of environmental racism. Included with this resource you will also find discussion questions and prayer connections.
- Other Education for Justice resources on racial discrimination
In Geneva, a panel event and a movie screening will take place at the Palais des Nations on 20 March 2015.
Panellists will speak at the Human Rights Council about the importance of preserving the historical memory of past human rights tragedies, including slavery, the slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide which have led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. They will explore the need of elaborating educational and awareness raising materials with a view to contribute to eradicating contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination.
For the screening of the movie on racism, young people from secondary schools are invited to participate in the event and to hold an exchange of views about situations of day to day racism.
In New York, the same day, a panel event will take place at the United Nations Headquarters, with the participation of academics, including historians and experts from the civil society, active in the field of racism and racial discrimination.
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How will you be helping to inspire action toward the end of racial discrimination this week? Perhaps through raising awareness on social media, sharing a personal experience, lobbying, or by simply reading and gaining knowledge from the above resources? Let us know!