International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21st marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle against racism and prejudice. This day holds particular significance as it commemorates the events of March 21, 1960, when the world witnessed the tragic Sharpeville massacre in South Africa. During a peaceful demonstration against apartheid, authorities opened fire on unarmed protestors, resulting in the loss of 69 lives and leaving over 180 individuals injured. The horrors of Sharpeville served as a rallying cry for justice and equality, igniting a global movement against racial discrimination.

Hands holding a sign saying "End Racism". A fight against racial discrimination and racial injustice.

The apartheid regime in South Africa epitomized the systematic oppression and segregation of non-white communities. For decades, this discriminatory policy denied individuals their fundamental rights and opportunities based on race. However, the resilience and determination of leaders like Nelson Mandela ultimately led to the abolition of apartheid in 1994, marking a historic victory for equality and justice.

We believe the core of reconciliation lies in the Indigenous principle of ‘Namwayut–We Are All One.’ This foundational belief emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living beings and underscores the importance of unity, respect, and solidarity among diverse communities. Serving as a guiding principle, Namwayut inspires reconciliation and understanding in a world often marred by prejudice and discrimination.

In the words of the United Nations General Assembly, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.” This profound declaration reaffirms the inherent worth and potential of every individual, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or background.

As we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, it is imperative that we reaffirm our commitment to combating racism in all its forms. We must actively challenge discriminatory attitudes and behaviors, both individually and collectively, and strive to create inclusive spaces where diversity is celebrated and respected.

A group of hands put together to represent diversity.

  • Report instances of racism and hate speech.
  • Engage in open and constructive dialogue on issues of race and discrimination.
  • Support organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting equality and inclusion.
  • Educate yourself and others about the impact of racism on individuals and communities.
  • Advocate for policies and practices that uphold the principles of equality and justice.

By standing in solidarity with those affected by racism and discrimination, we can build a more just and equitable world for future generations. Together, let us embrace the spirit of Namwayut–We Are All One, and work towards a future where diversity is celebrated, and all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Our Blog on Embracing UNDRIP

Inspiring Stories of Canadian Civil Rights Trailblazers