International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Harmony Day

The 21st March takes its rise from the Sharpeville massacre that took place during Apartheid South Africa which occurred on this date in 1960. This saw a military response to a civil rights movement and since that date has been acknowledged as the day that freedom from racial discrimination is maintained as a human right.

On this day as public schools and TAFEs celebrate the 21st March, attention must be drawn to the dual purpose of such a day. While schools, in the main, are encouraged to celebrate our backgrounds, cultures, practices, beliefs, identities and languages, the other purpose, of equal significance for public schools, is to reflect on what racism is and how we can educate to combat it. It is not effective to have one, without the other.

Even though we are known as a most successful multicultural society, we often shy away from discussions about race and racism in schools and although there is often uneasiness around these discourses, without them we will be unable to learn, grow and work towards a more socially cohesive and inclusive society for teachers, students and their families and communities.

Federation members are reminded of their responsibility as educators to organise, act and educate against racism in all its forms.

Federation’s Anti – Racism Policy applies to all Federation members and employees and through its decisions and policies, will heed the voices of its members and students who are subjected to racial abuse, discrimination or vilification.

For copies of Federation’s Anti – racism policy, charter, campaign resources such as posters, information about racism, good practice case studies as well as professional readings, go to Federation’s Anti – racism website or contact Amber Flohm, Federation’s Multicultural Officer/Organiser on [email protected],au

There are also a number of other resources to assist members to address racism in their classrooms and workplaces, as well as in their wider community.

Resources include The Human Rights Commission’s campaign ‘Racism. It Stops with Me’, of which the Federation is a proud supporter since 2015, while the UN also provides a plethora of resources on racial discrimination

Federation members are urged to support the Palm Sunday Peace Rally for Refugees this Sunday 25th March at Belmore Park from 2pm. Members, their families and communities can stand up for refugees and reject racist government policies impacting on so many. Australia is obligated by the United Nations Convention to protect those seeking asylum here and despite international condemnation, numerous Reports and Inquiries, the mistreatment of asylum seekers in Manus, Nauru and in the mainland continues.

For more information on the even click here.