Today is 21st of March 2020 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. And although most of the people in Europe and a lot of people around the world are staying home to stop the spread of coronavirus, we believe it is important to remind ourselves and others about the importance of fighting racism, and to take action - even if it is a very small one - to Stand Together Against Racism.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960. If you want to learn more go to the UN official page: https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day
What can we do to acknowledge this day and fight against racism from our homes?
1. Stay home
Memes are going on that this is the first time in the history where we can save the world by staying on our couch, so let's not screw it up. It has been proven that reducing the physical distance between people helps to reduce the spread of the virus. We need to acknowledge there are still vulnerable people, who don´t have a home, including people of colour, and can’t take this measure. That is why it is even more important for the rest of us, that can afford this, to contribute as much as possible to the policies of physical distancing and reduce the virus spread also for the benefits of others. By just staying home.
2. Fight racism and xenophobia around coronavirus
Unfortunately, there are still some who fear and demonise people from certain nationalities, because they believe that they might spread the virus. Politicians are also fueling this rhetoric by talking about “the Chinese virus” or “the foreign virus”, as if it matters at all where it comes from. We need to stop this. There is the campaign #IAmNotAVirus to share antiracist messages during the outbreak. You can also read more on the topic in an article by Anna North ¨Want to do something about coronavirus? Here are 5 ideas.¨ - idea 3 Don't join in racism and xenophobia
3. Read the article ¨8 everyday ways to fight racism¨
There are a lot of small things that we can do daily, but sometimes we are not aware of them. This article will give you a great inside, and then the only thing left would be implementing it. Go to the article
4. Learn more about racism and invisible racism
European practitioners of youth work have developed the online learning course ¨Make it visible! Working with young people against (invisible) racism¨, and if you want to learn more about racism and invisible racism, as well as how to work on these topics with young people, feel more than invited to join the course (it is FREE). Go to the course
5. It's time for solidarity
Solidarity, if not now, then when? It is time to think about others, especially those most vulnerable. All around the world the communities are organizing themselves to offer mutual support. If you are not a person at risk, you can support others by doing groceries for people who should not go out, or bring medicine from the pharmacy. People are offering services like free online consultations by medical experts (use responsibly), as well as consultations by psychologists, lawyers and many other professionals. In an act of solidarity in Spain, there are initiatives to write letters to people who are isolated in hospitals or to make facial masks. There are so many options available to join in, so check your local online groups where people organize themselves and offer your support. And if nothing interesting is being already organized, you can be the one to start it!
6. Cherish the work produced by people of colour, especially women.
Staying at home, we now tend to consume culture more than ever; being movies, TV shows, books or music. The efforts that people of colour and women need to put to be recognized as artists, experts, professionals, are usually much higher than for white men. Therefore we recommend to consume culture, arts and other work produced by people of colour and women (or even better, women of colour) - read a book, watch a movie, listen to a podcast, and remember to ¨give them a like¨.
7. Applause for everybody working under a greater risk of exposure
In many countries people are going to their windows or balconies to applaud the medical staff working in the frontline of the fight against the virus. Maybe today we can dedicate our applause as well to many other people who work under a greater risk of exposure like farmers and field workers who grow our food and people in other low-paid jobs that keep our society functioning like cargo processing, garbage collection, cleaning, deliveries, etc. In many cases these high-risk jobs are being performed by immigrants and people from minorities, so when clapping let’s say thank you to them as well!
8. Show solidarity with those who are stuck far from home and their families
While many of us are confined in our homes with our families, many people are away from “home” and lack a strong support system in the country they are currently stuck in. This is particularly true for refugees and immigrants, who left their families behind to work abroad, so that they are able to support them from a distance and who currently don’t know when they will be able to meet them again. The situation is even worse with refugees and immigrants who are locked somewhere on their migration route: even if the number decreased dramatically, there are still around 2000 people on the border between Greece and Turkey. We know many people are currently concerned with their income, but if you are still able and willing to donate, now would be the time to support humanitarian actions at home or abroad.
9. Share and raise awareness
This international day was created as well to give visibility to the issue of racism. Unfortunately, in the current situation we cannot take the streets and i stand for equality, but we can do it online. Share something on your social media: a good story on racism, an online campaign that is going on in your community, acknowledging work done by people of colour, or you can even share this article.