Monday, March 21, 2011, will mark the 45th anniversary of the United Nations’ (UN) observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In observance of the day, the UN has previously hosted such events as webcasts that address ways people can help end racism and encouraged the composition of essays, photo projects, and the publication of articles that promote the issue.
The observance of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is somewhat different this year, however, because the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. In a public statement issued by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon regarding the event, he said:
“This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is devoted to combating discrimination faced by people of African descent. This focus reflects the United Nations General Assembly’s proclamation of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent.”
In modern societies composed of many ethnic groups, such as Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Jews in the United States, to some it might seem odd to place such a singular emphasis on people of African descent. Ki-moon cited the following reason for this specific focus at this time:
“The discrimination faced by people of African descent is pernicious. Often, they are trapped in poverty in large part because of bigotry, only to see poverty used as a pretext for further exclusion. Often, they lack access to education because of prejudice, only to have inadequate education cited as a reason to deny them jobs. These and other fundamental wrongs have a long and terrible history…”
Remembering the Sharpeville Massacre
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination began as a commemoration of the Sharpeville Massacre that took place in South Africa, March 21, 1960. On that day, police shot and killed some 69 people involved in a peaceful protest against the apartheid “pass laws” in the country. Six years later, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the day as a UN Day of observance to continue the struggle against racism and to honor the lives of those killed.
To read more please click this link: http://www.examiner.com/african-american-art-in-national/report-on-2011-international-year-part-6-day-to-eliminate-racism