15 - 23 March 2008: European-wide Action Week Against Racism
"Colour Your Picture"
**Colour Your Picture: Stop Racism, Value Diversity, Promote Solidarity!**
Racism, discrimination and intolerance are rising all around Europe today, while the constant threat that migrants and minorities are facing is often trivialised or ignored by the political authorities. In 21st century there are still people suffering because they look, feel, act or believe "differently".
But what does "differently" mean? The slogan "Colour Your Picture" invites us to leave behind our habitual ways to watch our surrounding and the people we meet, not to judge about them according to stereotypes and our idea of "differentness", but to broaden our horizon and see the diversity of Europe as enrichment for our life and society. Briefly, the slogan invites us to shift from thinking black and white to seeing the colours of our society.
**Europe Allies Against Racism**
Every year on the occasion of the European-wide Action Week Against Racism around 21 March, people all around Europe get together promoting diversity, solidarity, equality and tolerance. In 2007, the Action Week celebrated its 15th birthday with activities in 44 countries, involving more than 150.000 people all around Europe in the fight against racism, discrimination, intolerance and exclusion.
Again this year, from 15 to 23 March, various non-governmental-organisations in more than 42 European countries will raise together their voice against one common threat: racism.
**Historical Meaning of the Date - The Massacre in Sharpeville**
21 March was declared 'International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination' by the General Assembly of the United Nations. This was a reaction to the brutal murder of 69 peaceful anti-Apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, on 21 March 1960. This day, police opened fire on a non-violent manifestation consisting of thousands of people chanting freedom songs. Most of the victims were shot in the back while fleeing to save their lives. No member of police was ever charged for the massacre.
**Various Activities all over Europe**
To fight against racism and discrimination, people and organisations all around Europe joined the European-wide Action Week Against Racism 2008 and have become active by organising a lot of different events such as conferences, demonstrations, festivals, workshops and much more.
In Belgium, the Movement Against Racism, Antisemitism and Xenophobia coordinates a huge nation-wide campaign stimulating NGOs, youth centres, cinemas, museums and other organisations all across the country to engage themselves for tolerance and equal rights. In Lithuania and Ireland, activists will raise awareness on racism and discrimination by broadcasting video clips in the public transports. In Athens, more than 40 organisations work together to organise a big anti-racist concert. Students in Hungary and Finland organise awareness-raising campaigns in their universities; Spanish activists show anti-racist banners during a football match to promote diversity and tolerance in sports. To strengthen the anti-racism network at international level, the Youth Network Against Racism and Intolerance from Russia organises an international awareness raising campaign to protest against racism in several countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
These are some examples of a variety of activities and organisations in different European countries that already joined in this year's European-wide Action Week. The full 'List of Activities' is available on http://www.unitedagainstracism.org (under 'campaigns'/ 21 March).
UNITED for Intercultural Action is a network of more than 560 organisations all over Europe working against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees. Every year, the UNITED International Secretariat coordinates three big European-wide campaigns. Different organisations in all European countries carry out activities at the local level in the international framework of these campaigns. The UNITED office supports them in different ways, e.g. by providing them with free campaign material or contact dates of other organisations in the same country or working field.
In case of any questions please contact the UNITED office. We will be happy to provide you with any further information about the current campaign and contact dates of involved organisations.