21 March marks International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, on the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 in which police killed 69 peaceful protesters against apartheid in South Africa.
Today, 61 years later, we live in a world where racial discrimination and violence continue to prevail. Recent events have placed the global problem of racism and anti-Blackness firmly into public consciousness. The COVID-19 pandemic- and the disproportionate impact it has had on communities of color and ethnic minorities – has laid bare the systemic racism and injustice of the societies in which we live.
The killings of African Americans, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, by US police officers sparked a global uprising in support of the movement against racial violence and police brutality and galvanized supporters around the rallying call “Black Lives Matter.” The recent killing of Asian Americans in Atlanta further exemplifies the blatant racism, hate, and violence that has existed historically in the US. Our heart goes out to those who have lost their lives and their families. We stand in solidarity with racial justice movements, leaders, and communities around the world.
Standing against any forms of racialized misogyny and violence is central to MenEngage Alliance’s mission to transform unjust and unequal systems. We condemn racism in all its forms and are committed to ending racial discrimination and building a world where all people are equal and free.
MenEngage Alliance adopts an intersectional approach in our work. We acknowledge that patriarchy, white supremacy, and other unjust systems of power are intrinsically connected and cannot be addressed in isolation from one another. We join with feminists, racial and social justice movements around the world in calling for a radical transformation of these systems towards a society based on love, care, empathy, equity, and solidarity.
The theme of this year, “Youth Standing up Against Racism,” brings hope that a new generation is leading this important and much awaited social transformation. We honor the leadership of youth activists and call on everyone around the world, of all ages, and particularly those in positions of power and privilege, to heed their calls and follow their lead in the construction of a transformed anti-racist society.
MenEngage Alliance acknowledges the importance and urgency of making space for discussion about systemic racism and discrimination within our own coordination and governance structures, as well as supporting member organizations to do the same. We commit to an ongoing process of collective self-reflection and self-education on the manifestations of systemic racism, colonization, and white supremacy and to make our practices in all these domains explicitly anti-racist.
We urge our members and partners around the world to join us in this journey and to commit to examining and transforming our practices, working through an intersectional approach, and acting in solidarity with racial justice movements worldwide.
We must ensure that 2020 was not just a passing moment, that the momentum created around racial justice continues, and that words are transformed into action. Each one of us has a part to play into #FightRacism in all its forms and to guarantee that the vision of today’s young activists becomes a reality.