European Action Weeks against Racism – The history

From 14 to 27 March 2022, the annual European Action Weeks Against Racism will take place. It’s one of the central campaigns we focus on here at UNITED.

The campaign comes from the commemoration of International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, set on the 21st March, a day mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1966.

The reasons for this campaign are somber.

During the Apartheid, protests against laws for racial segregation took place on the 21st of March. Around 5000 people took the streets to march against injustice. As the day wore on, the crowds swelled in size, and the police were sent in to contain it. Scuffles broke out, and the police escalated their actions. They shot indiscriminately into the crowd. 69 people were killed. Another 180 were injured.

In commemoration of this horrific event, UNITED coordinates a Europe-wide Action Week Against Racism every year. The purpose is not only to remember the victims and the lives lost, but also to make a stand against the rising nationalism and xenophobia that has remained present since this massacre. We urge NGOs, community organisations, schools, local councils and all manner of groups and individuals to join forces and confront racism with direct action. Whether by organising activities, supporting others, or spreading the message we encourage ourselves and others to stand hand in hand for diversity.