International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2021
19/03/2021 (Staff Post - Gozie Joe Adigwe )
Youth Standing Up Against Racism
Young people, globally, have been massively affected by the events of 2020 as we begin some kind of recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. Work, home life, mental health and education have all been adversely affected. But young people have also made a clear stance on anti-racism by helping to drive the now global movement – Black Lives Matter. The movement started with the racially motivated death of a young black man and has grown into a worldwide focus or racial discrimination.
Now, more so than ever, young people are organising – using social media as a vehicle to demonstrate, network and empower. Society owes it to them – particularly youth from ethnic minority groups - to build a better approach to inequality if we are not to see a generation of young people blighted by disadvantage. Challenging racial discrimination should be everybody’s business. This year we call on young people to continue their organising, campaigning and rise to better empowerment. Parents, families and society at large have a role to play to ensure our young people have a principled and measured approach to inequality. After all, they will be the influencers of the next generation.
Employment, Brexit and pandemic recovery have all taken their toll. Black youth unemployment is more than double that of white youth. The number of young people in work is now at a low of 3.5 million, official ONS figures show today (10 November 2020). Black youth are disproportionately respresented in this figure.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 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. Apartheid has since disappeared from South Africa and young people today will not know the horrors that system legalised.
But the principles of equality are still threatened by war, misinformation and racism. We can continue to support the global movement and with the momentum, logistics and principles of young voices there’s continued hope.