2018 March 21st Campaign: 21for21

2018 March 21st Campaign: 21for21

Join our commitment to creating a racism-free community


Initiative Background

What is the 21for21 Campaign?

The 21for21 campaign was designed to commemorate March 21st, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The campaign invites organizations and individuals in Edmonton to commit to an intentional action that can help build a racism-free community.

What is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination?

On March 21, 1960, sixty-seven Black demonstrators were killed and 186 wounded by armed white South African police while protesting Apartheid’s passbook laws in Sharpeville Township.  Six years after the Sharpeville Massacre, in response to the outrage expressed by the international community, church organizations, human rights and equality-seeking groups throughout the world, the United Nations declared March 21 to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  Canada was one of the first countries to support this move, and in 1989 the first Canadian March 21 Campaign took place, initiated by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Why Make a Commitment?

In order to address racism in our communities and society we must work collectively and focus on the root causes of racism such as structural inequities, bias and prejudice against Indigenous peoples and peoples of colour, and systems and policies that continue to disadvantage racialized communities. Your commitment demonstrates your willingness to act and counter these attitudes and behaviours.

By committing to an intentional action in the 21for21 campaign you are demonstrating your commitment or your organization’s commitment to anti-racism work within the broader Edmonton community. Engaging in anti-racism work is important for building stronger relationships in the community. Making a commitment allows you to put your knowledge into practice and be part of a larger movement working for racial equity!

What is Anti-racism work?

In the words of scholar George Dei, “anti-racism is an action-oriented strategy for institutional and systemic change that address the issues of racism and the interlocking systems of social oppression.” Many Edmonton organizations are already engaged in diversity and inclusion work. Anti-racism can been seen as building off and deepening the commitment to diversity and inclusion work.

  • Diversity: Diversity is the wide range of differences among people and their perspectives. Increasing diversity is an important goal, but on its own this will not address social inequities.
  • Inclusion: Inclusion is valuing the range of differences among individuals and communities. Inclusion creates processes and spaces for individuals to authentically share their perspectives and ideas. Inclusion is an vital process and goal, but again, it does not necessarily change unfair practices and policies.
  • Equity: Equity work involves developing and implementing practices and policies designed to promote opportunities and to rectify disparities that have created unequal opportunities and conditions for groups based on race.

Submit your Commitment

Once you’re ready to commit, you can use the links below to submit your organizational or individual action item for building a racism-free community online, and share your ideas and commitment with the wider community.

Not quite sure what kind of action to take? Check out the following list for a number of action ideas you can commit to.

Organizational Action Ideas:

  • Host an anti-racism training for your organization.
  • Conduct a review of HR practices for bias.
  • Create an anti-racism or similar policy, ensuring a clear and safe reporting mechanism for incidents of discrimination.
  • Participate in GBA+ online training as a workforce.
  • Conduct an equity audit of your organization.
  • Acknowledge March 21st by reading the Declaration for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and having a conversation about what it means for your organization.
  • Host a community dialogue to build relationships with your clients.

Individual Action Ideas:

  • Have a conversation about race and racism with your family.
  • Practice ‘calling in’ when you see or hear discrimination.
  • Create a reading list of authors of colour for your next book club or personal reading list.
  • Attend a cultural event in your community.
  • Have a hard conversation with yourself about racism.
  • Seek out opportunities to attend an anti-racism training.
  • Review your children’s book for diverse authors and characters and ensure cultural stereotypes are not being reinforced.

Ready to commit? Follow the appropriate link below.