#RootOutRacism: Local schools and business to support Anti-Racism week

The Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) calls on the country to pledge to #RootOutRacism by marking Anti-Racism Week from March 14 to 21.

Anti-Racism Week is held annually in South Africa during Human Rights Month. It culminates on Human Rights Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The focus week is aimed at creating public awareness about racism, and how it affects individuals and broader society. It encourages people to learn and talk about racism, to speak out against it, to report it and to act against it.

The week is about ensuring that there is a countrywide focus on tackling racism and that it remains on the national agenda.

It is initiated by ARNSA, representing some 80 organisations across various provinces. The network is spearheaded by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations.

It aims to get communities; housing complexes; schools; universities; workplaces; government departments; labour unions; religious, sports and art institutes; organisations and individuals to plan and host their own anti-racism activities during the week that can possibly lay the basis for sustainable work in tackling racism throughout the year.

This year’s theme is #RootOutRacism. The organisation wants South Africans to understand the root causes of racism and how over centuries, it has shaped the DNA of our society. From slavery and colonialism to apartheid, racism’s roots run deep.

They believe that we should be questioning what lies behind racist mentality, what fuels it and what can be done to change it. Also, believing that we should not just be tackling racism’s manifestations, but the mindsets, systems, policies, inequalities, cultures and conditions that sustain racism in post-apartheid South Africa.

These issues require long-term work and dedicated focus by all sectors of society, which we hope can be initiated during Anti-Racism Week and sustained on an ongoing basis.

There are numerous ways that people can get involved in Anti-Racism Week and start the conversation on rooting out racism. Schools can host assemblies against racism, or consider developing and adopting anti-racism school policies.

Workplaces can host lunchtime discussions about institutionalised racism, or consider sending staff for diversity training programmes. Religious institutes and community organisations can screen a movie about racism, host a discussion and set up community-based structures to tackle racism.

Sports clubs can host dialogues about transformation in the sector and consider dedicating matches to anti-racism. Individuals can pledge to #RootOutRacism on social media, creating awareness online. Government departments or private institutes can consider putting up ARNSA’s anti-racism signboards at their entrances.

The idea behind these signboards is to counter old apartheid signage, that once taken down in 1994, was not replaced with messaging that reinforces anti-racism, specifying that the facilities are for the use of people of all races.

The signboard campaign can be accompanied by a discussion about the legacy of apartheid and the responsibility to root out that legacy.

Details: [email protected]il.com or www.arnsa.org.za

Staff Reporter

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