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What is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination?

The day originates in South Africa. It commemorates the anniversary of 69 peaceful protestors being murdered by police in Sharpeville on March 21st 1960. The protest was against the Apartheid pass laws.

The Apartheid pass laws exhibited and promoted unimaginable levels of racism. Consequently, it was used to limit, control and segregate Black and other global majority individuals. They were prohibited from moving within and past certain areas and would be charged if they did.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination commemorates those brutally killed and aims to shed light, bring awareness and show solidarity towards a global anti-racist movement.

Why was this day created?

In 1966, the United Nations brought about this day to stop racial discrimination. The day focuses on actions and activities to bring awareness and solutions for individuals most affected by racial discrimination.

The apartheid laws were abolished in 1991, and racist legislation in other nations was also abolished by this point. 

There has been a lot of progress made since that time in history. Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go. 

From our expert:

 “It’s unthinkable to think of what people have been through in this world, and it hurts most that racial discrimination has been part and parcel of people’s lives. Past, present and future. In the UK alone, according to “Stop Hate UK, racially motivated hate crimes are the highest reported hate crime in the UK. Additionally in 2021/22, racially aggravated offences had risen by 19% – 109,843 racially aggravated offences”.

This highlights why we need this day. 

Any form of racism is completely unacceptable, and we must continually advocate and bring awareness to educate the upcoming generations to work towards eliminating racism for good. Racial discrimination manifests due to the belief that some people are inferior and others are superior because of the colour of their skin. We must remember that we all deserve to be and feel liberated within our skin. 

International Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day facts you should know:

  •  88 Countries mark Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day
  • Police brutality is the 6th leading cause for the death of black men in America.
  • Mauritania was the last country to abolish slavery in 2007.
  • In 2022, Black people had 52.6 stop and searches for every 1,000 Black person in comparison with 7.5 for white, 17.5 for mixed ethnicity & 17.8 for Asian in the UK.
  • You can share articlesvideos and photos with International Racial Elimination Day to document your experiences of the event.
  • It creates an anti-racist environment and sparks awareness of the horrible consequences of racial discrimination.
  • British Columbia was the first member state to declare the day in 1989.

Source: National Today, United Nations & GOV.UK

How workplaces can take part in this event 

  • Organising or attending training and webinars about racial equity, unconscious bias, anti-racism, and allyship.
  • Learning from the Black experience & other communities that experience racism, such as Antisemitism and Islamophobia (which can apply to both communities).
  • Commitment to understanding more about intersectionality and how that contributes to one’s experience. 
  • Show support by being an active ally in the workplace. 
  • Share your involvement with racial elimination day on social media and other communication channels.

Contact your account manager if you’re a member and need more support with marking the International Elimination Day of Racial Discrimination. If you’re not yet a member, get in touch today to see how we can help.

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