DATE: 14 MARCH 2017
What is Anti-Racism Week?
Anti-Racism Week is being held from March 14-21. It culminates on Human Rights Day in South Africa and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The week is an annual campaign, organised by the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) in a bid to tackle racism and create awareness nationally.
Last year, ARNSA pioneered the initiative, drawing in support from schools, religious institutes, sports organisations, government departments, businesses, civil society organisations, media houses and individuals across the country. This year, it hopes to increase the impact of the campaign, which calls on all South Africans to #TakeOnRacism .
ARNSA is spearheaded by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations, and includes some 60 organisations nationally who have pledged to tackle racism.
Practical methods to tackle racism during the week
The basic idea is to get people to:
- Learn about racism,
- Talk about racism,
- Speak out against racism, and
- Act against racism.
We believe that this can be encouraged through a number of practical means depending on the nature of your institution:
* Sports organisations – dedicate sports games to anti-racism during the week. Consider hosting diversity training courses for members of your sport clubs. Host tournaments dedicated to anti-racism. Let affiliated members/ teams that are part of your organisations publicly support Anti-Racism Week by for example, wearing a particular colour armband during all their training sessions for the week. Get sports team members to have roundtable or informal discussions about issues of race.
*Schools – Schools can host assemblies against racism. Pupils can be encouraged to present speeches/ plays against racism, dress in South African flag colours, learn about racism in the Life Orientation classes, host pickets against racism outside their schools etc. Consider art/ essay competitions against racism. School newsletters, Whatsapp messages to parents etc can all communicate anti-racism messaging.
*Religious institutes – Sermons can be dedicated to educating congregants about the importance of being anti-racist. Interfaith dialogues can be hosted. Issues such as Islamophobia and anti-Semitism can be discussed. Religious leaders can attend the various activities underway in communities lending their support to the campaign. Consider hosting diversity training courses within religious institutes.
* Individuals can pledge their support to the #TakeOnRacism campaign, by using social media to advocate anti-racism and create awareness. Post a picture of yourself holding up a page with the #TakeOnRacism hashtag. Alternatively, take a picture of your thumbprint on canvas/ a page with the words #TakeOnRacism, as well as your selected ‘be word’ (see below for an overview of the ‘Be’ concept). Call out racism whenever one is faced with it both in reality and on social media.
* Communities/ organisations – host community dialogues, movie screenings, street dialogues/ games etc all aimed at promoting anti-racism. Host panel discussions about racial issues.
* Posters/ art – Put up posters against racism at your workplace, school or organisation. Art competitions or public art/ graffiti against racism could also be considered.
* Movie screenings – host a movie/ documentary screening that tackles issues of race, xenophobia etc for a group of people followed by a reflective discussion.
* Workplace discussion forums – host a workshop/ discussion during your lunch break at work addressing issues of race, institutionalised racism etc. Businesses can also encourage employees to wear a particular colour/ SA flag colours on a certain day, or adopt an anti-racism badge that can be worn to work. Consider hosting diversity training courses.
*University students – organise protests, sit ins, discussions, poster/ leaflet blitzes, anti-racism T-shirt painting, pickets etc at your university. Get your SRC and various other student formations involved.
*Media – consider partnering with ARNSA for the week. Change your newspaper banner for the week in support of anti-racism/ promote Anti-Racism Week through a radio jingle/ adverts etc. Get opinion makers to write about issues of race during the week. Publish the details of events taking place in your area aimed at tackling race during the week. Cover events aimed at tackling race during the week. Host newsroom dialogues about race and media. Consider diversity training in the newsroom. Reflect on how to report on racism more effectively and encourage listeners/ readers/ viewers to adopt anti-racist attitudes.
* Song, poetry and dance – Consider hosting a poetry contest, a concert or dance competition against racism.
This list is not extensive – you are encouraged to be as creative as possible in planning activities for the week.
Should you host an activity/ engage in social media activity etc, please ensure that you correspond with us. We would like to know what you are doing, where, how and why. We can consider putting this on the ARNSA programme for the week that will be sent out to our databases, so that people/ media in your area can attend your programme. Email firstname.lastname@example.org . Include contact details that can be made available should members of the public require information.
Also, send us pictures from your programme, or of yourself promoting anti-racism work. This can be tweeted to @AntiRacismNet or emailed to email@example.com .