Together we can make a difference
Diversity! It improves our culture, it strengthens our companies, it makes our economy more resilient, and it adjusts our perspective on reality. It drives us to think broader and to respect our differences. Diversity has the power to make society better.
That’s why we say: Lets stand hand in hand for diversity!
Diversity in society refers to the presence of different groups, different people, and different individual roles. Once we understand what diversity truly contributes to our societies, we need to look deeper! We can then see the differences between those we always have considered to be the same and can see similarities and connections with others of whom we never realised this. We stop seeing each other as members of strictly separated groups, but as individuals with many different roles, many identifications, and continuously crossing different group boundaries. Our individual identities have many layers, and this makes each of us unique.
The key to successfully deal with diversity is to make use of all dynamics stemming from differences between people. Using all our different qualities, talents, and perspectives requests an inclusive approach. In an inclusive approach, people are seen and appreciated for their individual qualities and skills, and the differences in qualities and skills are combined to improve the coherence in society. A balance has been found between stimulating authentic talents and working on a common interest. Allow space for diversity and there will be a lot to explore, to understand, and to learn from each other. Using the strength of diversity makes us more able to cope with a rapidly changing world. Being open for diversity – within Europe, your country, your society, your neighbourhood, and yourself – strengthens the social cohesion we need to tackle the current atmosphere.
Embracing diversity in our society has many advantages. Diversity can bring new perspectives to change the current situation in Europe. During the European Action Week Against Racism we can show people in Europe the strengths of diversity and spread our own message of solidarity. This is the moment to stand hand in hand and make our voice heard!
CHANGE THE SITUATION IN EUROPE
Europe today is facing many different forms of racism, xenophobia, anti-migrant and anti-minority attitude resulting in exclusion, hate speech, and in extreme cases in hate crimes. Most worrying is the continuous rise all over Europe of racist and extreme right political movements and -parties as well as the more and more discriminatory discourse used by mainstream political parties. Furthermore, racism and discrimination are not only advocated by the openly racist, but also found in commonly used cultural expressions. Racism is not just an isolated act, but part of a collective, continuing system of social relations. It is not always easy to see; sometimes we need each other to point discrimination out to us. Cultural perspectives can be changed.
People in a rapidly changing society have the tendency to become protective of what is known and fearful for what is unknown. Dividing and categorising “others” into over-generalised groups as well as only selecting “the similar” in the core group is deeply embedded at various levels in our societies and in our everyday activities. Racism and exclusion can take the form of a negative look in the subway, or crossing the street to avoid someone, or portraying people with certain words, images, etc. based on prejudices instead of individual capacities. We should rethink why we give voice to these prejudices and perceive others as lesser beings.
We can change the way society looks at differences. Effective antiracism is a joint effort; we start by opening up our own minds and then encourage those around us to see another future. Across Europe activists are preparing strong and innovative ways to engage with their communities during the Action Week Against Racism. A rapidly changing society forces us to rethink our methods of combatting racism, xenophobia and intolerance towards creating an inclusive society.
It takes courage to speak out against exclusion, discrimination, hate and racism wherever we see it: in our streets, at our schools, on the Internet, in the media, or within our institutions and governments. It takes an open mind to rethink discriminative tendencies in society and to change people’s view.
HAND IN HAND FOR DIVERSITY
Fortunately, already many NGOs organise successful activities promoting cooperation, solidarity, and diversity as their answer to racism and xenophobia. Civil society organisations have a strong knowledge and experience in combatting the roots of racism, xenophobia and intolerance and have developed and effectively implemented unique methods in this area. Many European countries have developed good practices to promote diversity and combat racism and intolerance both in the fields of formal and non-formal education, and many local municipalities have joined in various ways to support diversity and solidarity in their community.
In the 2015 European Week Against Racism, NGOs, grassroots organisations, and local authorities throughout Europe will show society that we can all live side by side. Actions will be organised on all levels in Europe, from local neighbourhoods to European institutions. By helping each other and standing up for the “other” we can make a difference and turn the tides. Together we work for a future based on intercultural respect, solidarity and equal rights. With this goal, we stand hand in hand for diversity.
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