International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2021 Statement

The New Canadians Centre denounces violence perpetrated against racialised members of our communities.

The rising tide of anti-Asian racism since the pandemic began, the violence against Asian women in Atlanta this past week, and the ongoing and historic oppression of Black and Indigenous peoples all signal that we must take a firm stand against racism and discrimination.

We grieve for the lives of those that are lost or changed forever as they are judged and told they do not belong because of their skin colour, their accent, their dress, and their traditions.

At the New Canadians Centre, we will continue to welcome, support, and celebrate diversity. We must also challenge ourselves to sit in uncomfortable spaces to confront the realities of the marginalised – to read, listen, learn and to act towards change.

On March 21, 1966, the United Nations (UN) launched the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960. The law required Black South Africans over the age of 16 to carry a pass book containing extensive personal information at all times.

Today, we are reminded that our friends, neighbours and family members continue to be targeted in senseless attacks. Together, we will advocate for those whose voices are marginalised and silenced; and, together, we will create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.