The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March.
On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid “pass laws”. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the United Nations Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
Head teacher Mark Fowle and three students from Martin Luther King House are raising awareness of this significant day in assemblies this week. The aim is to challenge students to improve their local community by eliminating prejudices and discrimination. There are still many individuals, communities and societies who suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings. It is imperative people embrace why they are different and that it is possible to succeed regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs or disability.
The assembly is inspiring students that despite prejudices and discrimination that they may face that they can achieve and it highlights the importance of accepting people for whom they are.
“The International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination raises awareness of the fight against apartheid in South Africa and acknowledges how much life has improved. Yet following on from Mandela’s legacy, there is still more to do to fight prejudice in all communities. In the assemblies, I am encouraging students to celebrate their differences, never to discriminate and recognise how dull life would be if we were all the same”
– Mark Fowle Head Teacher