Saturday 21 March is Harmony Day in Australia, a day to celebrate our diverse society. It is also the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is not a coincidence – it’s just that our government, in their wisdom, didn’t want to have a day that had the “R” word in its name. Instead they decided to call the day something that emphasised the positives about living in a multicultural society. Well, I’m all for that, but let’s not forget that racism’s still out there.
The date chosen in fact commemorates what came to be known as the Sharpeville massacre – when in 1960 police opened fire gainst a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa, killing 69 people. That’s something we should never forget, although nearly 50 years on we can look back with pride and relief at the changes in the world, and the progress we’ve made against racism, since that shocking event.
Australians for Native Title and Reconcililation (ANTaR) have not forgotten the true meaning of the day and are are celebrating – if that’s the word – with a cute gimmick. By clicking on the lovely faces at left you can go to their site and get a sticker like this one (or smaller) to put on your facebook page, blog or website. You can also sign a pledge against racism.