The International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination is recognized every year on March 21. It may seem like a somber holiday, but it celebrates an important, world-wide effort to bring equality to people of all races, no matter what country they live in, and raises awareness for this very important cause.
The date of the International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination was chosen to mark the anniversary of a violent incident that happened in 1960 in South Africa, when police opened fire on a nonviolent crowd of protesters, killing 69 people as they stood up against racism in their country. Since the day was established by the United Nations in 1979, it is used as a time to reflect on progress made toward the ending of racial discrimination, and refocus on efforts that are still needed, worldwide.
This March 21, 2021, take a moment to reflect on your own life and community from the perspective of someone who may experience racial discrimination because of the color of their skin or their cultural traditions. What can you do to help improve their experiences in your town or city? Have you ever seen or heard of discrimination happening in your workplace or volunteer organization? Do you know of policies and laws that make life more difficult for people of a minority race to live their lives freely?
Sometimes we can forget to look at these things from the perspective of people who are different than us, and assume everything is ok. If you have heard someone from a different culture talk about experiencing discrimination, it’s important to listen. You will learn more from them about how to help their situation than you would in some college courses!
It may just be a start, but listening to people who are experiencing discrimination and learning from them would be a great way to recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination for yourself. You can read books by authors who are a different race from you, watch movies or tv that talk about their experiences, or even learn from them in person by attending cultural events. By taking the time to learn from your neighbors, you will enrich your own life, as well as help improve theirs.