March 21 marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council (MJMC) used the day to inform the public to recognize the continued effects of racism in society.
The council spent Tuesday visiting 25 local businesses to deliver pamphlets, bracelets and stickers to encourage discussion and interaction in the community.
“Black and white are used officially to mark the day, so that’s what the bracelets handed out represent,” Lauren Stennett, a settlement worker at MJMC, told the Times-Herald. “We delivered the information packages on Tuesday to allow business time to let their staff look at the material.”
She said MJMC has marked the annual event before and will continue to do so in the future.
“We did something similar last year and had an information booth on Main Street,” Stennett said. “It’s really important to bring as much awareness to our city any way we can — it’s a great benefit for everyone.”
As with all cultural changes, she believes informing the public goes hand-in-hand with tolerance.
“Education is the best tool to combat racism,” Stennett said. “Racism is based on the fear of the unknown and is what usually carries stereotypes. A broader world view will combat those stereotypes.”
On March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa, hundreds of activists stood against the apartheid regime to protest pass laws, which separated families, limited free movement and dictated individuals were lesser human beings based on the colour of their skin.
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