The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21st. This day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966, in memory of the Sharpeville massacre, which occurred on March 21st, 1960, in South Africa. On this day, 69 peaceful protesters were killed by the police while protesting against apartheid laws. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the need to eliminate racism and racial discrimination in all its forms and to promote equality and justice for all people.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a time for Canadians to reflect on the ongoing struggles for racial justice and the work that needs to be done to create a more equitable society. It is important for people to actively support the elimination of racial discrimination, here are some ways in which individuals can make a difference:
- Educate yourself: One of the most important things that individuals can do is to educate themselves about racial discrimination. This includes learning about the history and impact of racism, opens a new window, as well as current issues and challenges faced by marginalized communities. There are many books, opens a new window, documentaries, opens a new window, and online resources available that can provide valuable insights and perspectives.
- The Diversity Gap: What Lived Experiences Are We Missing on Our Team? w/Noemí Jimenez, opens a new window
- The Will To Change: Uncovering True Stories of Diversity & Inclusion. E255: Cancel Culture to Coaching Culture: Navigating DEI Conversations with Author and Professor Kenji Yoshino., opens a new window
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusions: Talking to Canadians. E9: Level Chan , opens a new window
- Speak up:, opens a new window It is important to speak out against racism and discrimination whenever you encounter it. This includes challenging offensive or insensitive comments, reporting discriminatory behavior, and standing up for those who are being targeted. Even small acts of solidarity can make a big difference in creating a more inclusive and supportive environment.
Support anti-racism initiatives:, opens a new window There are many organizations and initiatives that are working to eliminate racial discrimination and promote equality. Consider supporting these efforts by making a donation, volunteering, or simply spreading awareness about their work. Some local organizations include:
- Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) - The OHRC is a provincial agency responsible for promoting and enforcing human rights in Ontario.
- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) - The organization works to improve the settlement and integration of newcomers to Ontario, with a focus on promoting anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives.
- Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate - This government agency supports initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, provides education and training on anti-racism, and works with community organizations to address racism in various sectors.
- Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) - BLAC is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance and advocacy to Black Ontarians who have experienced discrimination.
- South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) - SALCO is a legal clinic that provides legal advice and representation to South Asian Ontarians who have experienced discrimination.
- Hold institutions accountable: Institutions such as schools, workplaces, and government agencies have a responsibility to address and eliminate racial discrimination. Hold them accountable by advocating for policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can also report instances of discrimination or bias that you observe in these settings.
- Engage in meaningful dialogue: It is important to engage in open and honest dialogue with others about racial discrimination. This can help to raise awareness and understanding, as well as promote empathy and compassion. Be willing to listen to different perspectives and experiences, and approach conversations with an open mind and heart.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important reminder of the ongoing work that needs to be done to create a more just and equitable society. By learning about racial discrimination in the province of Ontario and supporting efforts to reduce racism in Canadian society, individuals can make a meaningful contribution towards the elimination of racial discrimination. Explore the resources and podcasts linked above and reading lists below for more on this issue.