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March 21 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2018

On March 21, 1960, sixty-nine people were killed when police officers opened fire on a group peacefully protesting Apartheid in South Africa.

The event that came to be known as the Sharpeville Massacre captured worldwide attention. So much so, that, in 1966, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially declared March 21 to be the “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”

In the 52 years since the proclamation of this day, much has been done to address prejudice and intolerance, but the struggle to eradicate racial discrimination continues. Discriminatory behavior based on race or perceived race, ancestry, nationality and colour still occurs. Not only is this an affront to our citizenship, it also undermines our pursuit of equality, inclusiveness, and social justice.

Today is a day to remember that racism should have no in part our world or our workplaces. A day to remind ourselves of the struggles and challenges Indigenous people and newcomers to this province face.

 At the same time, it is also a day to applaud people who confront racism and discrimination, and promote the calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Let us all strive to become citizens who work diligently to make our communities and our world a better place by promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity.