European-wide Action Week Against Racism – 15-23 March 2015 | NLIF

European-wide Action Week Against Racism – 15-23 March 2015

Diversity! It improves our culture, it strengthens our companies, it makes our economy more resilient, and it adjusts our perspective on reality. It drives us to think broader and to respect our differences. Diversity has the power to make society better.
That’s why we say: Lets stand hand in hand for diversity!

Since the early 1990s, UNITED coordinates every year around 21 March the European-wide Action Week Against Racism. Activists, NGOs, universities, schools, municipalities and a wide variety of different organisations carry out hundreds of activities all around Europe in order to bring an end to racism, discrimination and intolerance.
In this year’s European Action Week Against Racism thousands of actions are organised by grass-roots organisations and different groups in 50 countries. In many countries the campaign has become a national wide. Through these activities 100.000s of people speak out against racism, discrimination, intolerance and for diversity.
With the encouragement and support of the UNITED secretariat, several cities throughout Europe have also joined the campaign by speaking out against racism, by supporting and organising activities in their cities, hanging posters in billboards, organising exhibitions etc.
To get more information on the Action Week 2015 follow the campaign on Facebook UnitedActionWeek. Follow #ARW15 on twitter and see where you can JOIN an activity.

Change the Situation In Europe
Europe today is facing many different forms of racism, xenophobia, anti-migrant and anti-minority attitude resulting in exclusion, hate speech, and in extreme cases in hate crimes. Most worrying is the continuous rise all over Europe of racist and extreme right political movements and -parties as well as the more and more discriminatory discourse used by mainstream political parties. Furthermore, racism and discrimination are not only advocated by the openly racist, but also found in commonly used cultural expressions. Racism is not just an isolated act, but part of a collective, continuing system of social relations. It is not always easy to see; sometimes we need each other to point discrimination out to us. Cultural perspectives can be changed.
We can change the way society looks at differences. Effective antiracism is a joint effort; It takes courage to speak out against exclusion, discrimination, hate and racism wherever we see it: in our streets, at our schools, on the Internet, in the media, or within our institutions and governments. It takes an open mind to rethink discriminative tendencies in society and to change people’s view.

Hand in hand for diversity
Many NGOs organise successful activities promoting cooperation, solidarity, and diversity as their answer to racism and xenophobia. Civil society organisations have a strong knowledge and experience in combatting the roots of racism, xenophobia and intolerance and have developed and effectively implemented unique methods in this area.
In the 2015 European Week Against Racism, NGOs, grassroots organisations, and local authorities throughout Europe show society that we can all live side by side. Actions will be organised on all levels in Europe, from local neighbourhoods to European institutions. By helping each other and standing up for the “other” we can make a difference and turn the tides. Together we work for a future based on intercultural respect, solidarity and equal rights. With this goal, we stand hand in hand for diversity.

Why 21 March?
The General Assembly of the United Nations declared 21 March the International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. This day was implemented as a reaction to the brutal murder of 69 anti-apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville (South Africa) in 1960. Apartheid was a legal system of systematic racial segregation and inequality enforced by the government of South Africa from 1948 up to 1990.

UNITED for Intercultural Action
The campaign is coordinated by ‘UNITED for Intercultural Action’ – the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees.
Within the UNITED network more than 550 organisations from a wide variety of backgrounds, from 48 European countries, work together in common activities and projects.