Every day is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Today March 21st is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 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.https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day

In 1979 a week of solidarity with the people struggling with racism and racial discrimination was established to be observed annually beginning March 21st. Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled, racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and an international framework for fighting racism has been established, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day

While some progress has been made, the injustices and prejudices fueled by racial discrimination continue to happen every day every hour, every minute and every second to date. Racialized communities more so the Black and Indigenous communities to the extreme magnitudes continue to face racism and discrimination. Discrimination on racial grounds takes many forms and happen in many places. It is permeated in many forms including prejudice, discrimination or hatred directed at someone because of the color of their skin, ethnicity or place of origin. Racial discrimination is revealed through societal attitudes, actions, institutions and systems.

Racial discrimination is more than just words uttered in regular conversations. It involves beliefs and actions that produce barriers that prevent a particular category of people from enjoying dignity and equality because of the color of their skin. This is signified by large differences in outcomes among racial groups that are eminent in employment, income and wealth distribution, education, housing, criminal justice, health, and other spaces of multifaceted oppressions. It is therefore critically important to be cognizant and identify where racial discrimination occurs and to measure the extent to which racial discrimination continue to contribute to racial and disparities as well as a legacy of struggle to racialized demographics.

As an organization serving Black/African community, demographics that are significantly impacted by racial discrimination, March 21st is a very significant day to African Community Services of Peel (ACSP), a day that ACSP recommit every effort to continue advocating for elimination of racial discrimination every day, calling out racial discrimination, injustice, systemic racism, racial hate and combating all forms of racial discrimination in their multifaceted forms,. This is day to continue demanding that every human is human, should be respected, should feel safe, and should have equitable access to upward mobility to be able to contribute meaningfully to all aspects of the society.

Racial discrimination is a social construct. It is not natural and it is not a thing of the past. It is dependent on historical, socialized, normalized and shared ways of thinking developed collaboratively to represent a particular group of people in a particular way. It is still being experienced by people we call neighbors, friends, networks, colleagues, our children’s school and classmates.

Racial discrimination is real!

We all can do something about it.

You too!

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