International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – March 21

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – March 21

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed annually to remember the events of Sharpeville, South Africa when police opened fire killing 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960. * That may be over 60 years ago but racial discrimination and violent acts based on race and xenophobia are alive and continue to torment many communities today, insidiously and blatantly.

Insidiously through existing colonial systems and structures that continue to oppress BIPOC communities.  In this past year, the gaps in these systems have become further exposed as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world and disproportionately affected BIPOC communities. For example, inadequate healthcare supports and economic disadvantage as a result of entire industries, such as tourism, being obliterated where workers are disproportionately people of colour. More specifically in Canada, the violence and destruction of Mi’kmaq First Nation members and property while operating within their rights to fish for livelihood.

Blatantly through acts of violence showing hatred and fear being unleashed against specific ethnic and cultural groups, causing BIPOC communities to continually fear for their safety and preventing their ability to participate in public life. For example, the violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchisnki-Paquet, and Chantel Moore at the hands of the police. Most recently, the killings of Soon Jung Park, Sunja Kim, Yong Ae Yue, and Hyun Jung Grant from the attack in Atlanta.

We cannot deny the existence of racial discrimination in Canada and in our individual communities. We cannot tolerate white supremacy. We cannot let hatred and violence eat away our humanity. The Students’ Union of Vancouver Community College acknowledges that racial discrimination exists and will work to #fightracism through advocating for accessible education for all, supporting anti-racism work on campuses and our community, empowering BIPOC students and lifting their voices, and unlearning racism in order to change colonial systems.

Don’t let today be the only day we #fightracism, let it be one of the many days. Let it be the day to learn and reflect how each of us can act towards the elimination of racial discrimination.

Resources: 

More information about March 21: https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day

Mental Health:
Project Lotus- https://www.theprojectlotus.org/
The Safe Place app- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.he6ecb72aef1&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=in-text-link
Liberate (meditation app for BIPoC) – https://liberatemeditation.com/?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=in-text-link
Crisis Services Canada- https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/resources-for-marginalized-communities-and-allies/

Allyship:
SWAAY- https://swaay.com/ally-resources-black-lives-matter
Guide To Allyship- https://guidetoallyship.com/

Reading & Resources:
How to be an Anti Racist- https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525509288
So you want to talk about race – https://www.sealpress.com/titles/ijeoma-oluo/so-you-want-to-talk-about-race/978158005[…]wAR262i36JkNreR2lYg0pPPHDPL9u6iyHSVkMV2vrR3Ehdl-1oG-0ZlXKMrY
Children’s Literature- https://www.embracerace.org/resources/where-to-find-diverse-childrens-books?fbclid=IwAR3TsVbPpxbL8gvkXn6wBFVdzmTYO8yQC0bmiOPdXr3kOSVxWaj9Zrgw0UM

YMCA Vancouver- https://www.gv.ymca.ca/blog/anti-racism-resources
FAQs (BC)- https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism/anti-racism/antiracismfaq

Take Action:
Reporting in British Columbia- https://hatecrimesinbc.resiliencebcnetwork.ca/take-action/

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