What is UN Anti-Racism Day?
The UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was inaugurated in 1966 to commemorate the 1960 Sharpeville massacre which saw 69 anti-apartheid protestors killed and 178 wounded for taking to the streets against the regime’s racist pass laws.
In commemorating the massacre, the UN General Assembly called on all world states and organizations to participate in a program of action to combat racism and racial discrimination.
We are facing a massive rise in racism in Britain and across the globe. Migrants and refugees are being scapegoated for the effects of austerity, while EU nationals are used as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations. The whipping up of anti-Muslim hysteria in the press has led to a dramatic rise in Islamophobic attacks in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester, with visible Muslim women the primary target. Rampant institutional racism is being felt through a spate of deaths in police custody, the tragedy at Grenfell and systematic discrimination in employment and Housing.
Trump’s Muslim ban, his racist ‘wall’ project and equivocation over white supremacist and fascist marches have led to a climate of racism and fear across the US.
Meanwhile In Europe, the rise of the Freedom Party in Austria, Front National in France and AfD in Germany are signs of a resurgence of the far right which requires a serious and coordinated effort to turn back.
If we are to defeat the rise of racism, we need a united movement of everyone who opposes it. The #MarchAgainstRacism is a chance to bring that movement together and show that we will not be silent. In the face of this historic challenge we need to make 2018’s march the biggest yet.
Who else will be marching?
As well as London, Cardiff and Glasgow, cities across Europe will be taking to the streets. Last year demonstrations took place in Paris, Berlin, Athens, Amsterdam and Vienna to name just a few, and next year even more cities are set to join in, including a march in the US.