21st March – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

“21 March is the International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1966 following the brutal murder of 69 protesters in the South African township of Sharpeville in 1960.

The massacre occurred during a protest against the apartheid laws of the South African government, a regime systematically enforcing racial inequality and segregation. Today racist murders and violence are still frequent and racial discrimination continues to be found at every level of our societies.

Every year around 21 March, the UNITED network coordinates the European-wide Action Week Against Racism and calls upon the international community to bring an end to racism, discrimination and intolerance. We urge NGOs, community organisations, schools, local councils and all manner of groups and individuals to join forces and confront racism with direct action. Whether by organising activities, supporting others, or spreading the message we encourage ourselves and others to stand hand in hand for diversity.

Racism is not just a local issue: we have to campaign on the local, regional and European level to set the agenda on all levels. Together we can show that there is an enormous amount of people that believe in the value of diversity.

By campaigning simultaneously all over Europe with a large variety of creative activities we make our movement visible and generate European-wide publicity. It is the variety and creativity of many different simultaneous activities all over Europe that make the UNITED campaigns unique.

Through joining a European campaign you can get inspired by ideas and enthusiasm of other activists, learn from each others experience and views, generate more publicity because of the scope of the European campaign, mobilise more people as you reach a combined audience, etc. You can benefit from the network’s experiences as well as from its infrastructure and free campaign posters.

By speaking together we are louder, our message is stronger and travels further.”

As part of the UNITED network and as an organisation dedicated to striving for a world where all people live together with mutual respect, SCI will be participating too. SCI Switzerland is organizing the Living Library and the Silent Library. The Living Library is a method that allows a conversation of 30 minutes, in order to reduce stereotypes and prejudices. The Silent Library on the other hand enables a different kind of encounter: During the first four minutes two people get to know each other silently, through eye contact only and following that have the chance to enter into a dialogue. Both of the events will be held  in Bern at 5 p.m. on 22nd of March and on 25th of March.

Utilapu SCI’S Hungarian branch, is also organizing a creative workshop and street action.
During the creative workshop they will brainstorm in small groups, putting their ideas in to words and pictures. Afterwards they will create large scale posters with the facilitation of the studio's designers. When the posters are ready they will place them on the streets of Budapest. We can’t wait to see them! 

SCI Hellas, with several other organizations, will take part in  the “Walk Against Discrimination” in Athens tomorrow, an initiative of the Greek Forum of Migrants. For those who are in Athens the route will begin in Syntagma square outside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and will end in WelCommon Centre Accommodation for Refugees.

Are you interested in joining  an event or activity near you, but you don’t know what or where it is happening? You can check the interactive map of the Week Against Racism Activist web site here and join!


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