March 20, 2023: Stand Up 4 Human Rights during the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with digital resources to fight racism!

Did you know that March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against apartheid. After the tragic events, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate racial discrimination. In 1979, the UN decided that a week of solidarity with the people struggling against racism and racial discrimination would be organized annually, beginning on March 21st. Since then, racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries but the work to fight racism continues. This week in the mentoring circle, we learn how to fight racism using digital resources that #StandUp4HumanRights

The 2023 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focuses on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to acknowledge that rights are inherent to every single human being and not granted by the State. The UDHR states that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, gender, sex and nationality, among others. 75 years after its adoption, racism and racial discrimination continue to affect people all over the world.  This commemoration hopes to provide an impetus to take prompt and robust steps to advance equality and combat racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. In the following TED Ed video, Benedetta Berti explores the subtleties of human rights.

While much progress has been made, Indigenous peoples, and racialized minority communities in Canada continue to face racism and discrimination every day. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination day serves as a call to action for individuals and organizations to actively work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, injustice, systemic racism and hate. Re-committing efforts, to ensure all people are respected and have equal access and opportunity to be safe and to succeed. The UN Human Rights Office has launched its #FightRacism campaign to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us that we must take a stand against racism and promote respect, compassion and equality for all. Start your fight against racism using digital resources provided by the United Nations.

Racial discrimination refers to the practice of treating people differently or unjustly because of their race, ethnic origin, skin colour, language or religion. It can also be systemic, meaning that discrimination has been built into the structures and institutions of society. Learn about the history of racism in Canada using an Indigenous Youth Wellness lesson titled: The Roots of Racism. The lesson features Kayla taking her younger brother Nate back in time to show him how racism started in Canada. This lesson is part of Cuystwi — a free online youth wellness quest for Indigenous youth in BC. They have 24 interactive and video-based lessons in their program about celebrating Indigenous cultures, identity strengthening, learning about the history of Indigenous people and learning about ways to deal with racism.

We cannot speak about fighting racism without first understanding the concept of intersectionality. Black scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality to deal with the fact that many social justice problems like racism and sexism often overlap, creating multiple levels of injustice. Crenshaw witnessed an exponential injustice when various intersections manifest as they deepen and widen diverse forms of oppression. To learn more listen to her Ted Talk: The Urgency of Intersectionality where she further explains this phenomenon. In the following video of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, learn more about intersectionality through the eyes of early freedom fighters who fought against multiple oppressions.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us to unite to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are problems prevalent in all societies. But every day, every one of us can be an upstander against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. To start supporting the elimination of racial discrimination use UNICEF developed classroom-ready digital resources & the UN’s #StandUp4HumanRights website. In the following interview from the UN’s #FightRacism Campaign “Learn, Speak Up, and Act!” with actor Tenoch Huerta, learn about his journey towards becoming an anti-racist fighter, his views on representation, allyship, the importance of checking one’s privileges, and how racism affects us all.