Czech students, German volunteers launch anti-racism campaign tomorrow
In 1966, the UN General Assembly declared 21 March the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The day was chosen to protest the brutal murder of 69 people in 1960 who had been demonstrating in the South African city of Sharpeville against apartheid.
On this day, the wearing of an orange ribbon symbolizes solidarity and the fight against racist and right-wing extremist tendencies in society. Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASZ) and In IUSTITIA will be holding a public campaign to mark 21 March on the streets of the Czech city of Plzeň.
The town is scheduled to become a European City of Culture in 2015. The organizations believe the concept of culture includes taking a clear stance against attacks and discrimination that are committed because of someone's ethnic origins or skin color.
The campaign tomorrow will be followed by public lectures at the Peklo cultural center starting at 19:00. Journalist Patrik Banga will lecture on the media and racism, following by Šárka Kadlecová of In IUSTITIA, who will lecture on manifestations of hate crime in the Czech Republic.
On Saturday starting at 9:30 AM, college instructor Tomáš Hirt will lecture on how photography and video reportage reproduce racial stereotypes, following by Anna Nosková, who will lecture on fashion activism and blogs (such as fashionbook.cz). The organizers say that by attending and supporting these events, people will not only contribute to helping the victims of racially-motivated attacks, they will personally get a lot out of the events on offer.
Those attending will learn essential information about a topic which is often presented in the Czech Republic in a negative light, one-sidedly, and without quality reporting. The organizers believe those attending might get a taste for becoming activists themselves in their schools or towns; the lectures are free of charge.
In IUSTITIA is the first organization in the Czech Republic to focus on hate violence. The organization offers educational programs and workshops, legal counseling, and monitoring of legislative activity, and also works with media outlets covering hate violence and racism.
Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste is a German volunteer organization with a coordination office in Prague. ASF not only takes care of German volunteers living and working in the Czech Republic, but sends interested Czechs on a year of volunteer service in Germany (for more information, see www.asf-ev.de/cz)
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