The United Nations as well as other international organizations officially recognize March 1st as Zero Discrimination Day. The purpose of this is to promote equality both in the law and in practice throughout all UN member nations. This day of recognition was first launched in 2014 by UNAIDS director Michael Sidibe.
This is a day of action and awareness to speak out against laws that discriminate against people. Sadly, while many member nations pay lip service towards supporting this important day, discrimination against marginalized groups is still widespread. Here are some laws that were proposed in the United States. Sadly, many were signed into law in 2021
Denying healthcare for trans individuals
Excluding trans people from school sports
Restrictions on gender identification on birth certificates and other documents
Religious exemptions in healthcare
Religious exemptions in healthcare allowing for LGBTQ+ discrimination
Restrictions on school coursework
Preventing cities and local governments from passing anti-discrimination legislation
Sadly, discrimination isn’t just limited to the USA. It also impacts many demographic groups. For example, Human Rights Watch has expressed deep concerns about anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies as well as public sentiment. Hungary passed controversial anti LGBTQ laws in 2021. Even France has caused controversy with its recent laws that ban wearing the Hijab in public and make other Islamic religious practices illegal.
There’s clearly much work to be done. Sadly, the policy regression we’ve seen on a worldwide scale may be a backlash in response to progress that had been made in years prior.
This year, it may be difficult to feel particularly celebratory about this day. On a global scale, the LGBTQ+ community as well as other marginalized groups have really struggled. However, there is empowerment in taking positive action. So, here are some things you can do to celebrate Zero Discrimination Day.
Zero Discrimination day was officially announced in December of 2013, when director Michele Sidebe officially announced that the holiday had been established. This day was created with a primary goal of ensuring that everyone has dignity by creating more inclusive policies for those within the political, economic, and social planes.
This years theme for Zero Discrimination Day is focused on ending discrimination against women and girls. How can we end the discriminatory patterns that women experience?
You can learn more about Zero Discrimination Day by visiting the UNAIDS website at Unaids.org.
The missions that come from a day focused on ending discrimination won’t get far without the support of politicians. That is why we encourage you to contact local politicians in order to ensure that this day is spent focusing on ending discrimination against others. Learn about who is in charge of your local government and contact the politicians in the area.
We also highly encourage finding out who your representative is and contacting them either by phone or by e-mail. You can find out who your representative is by visiting “house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative”. Once there all you are required to do is submit your zip code and you will be shown who your representative is, and what their political alignment is. Underneath that piece of information there will also be an envelope shaped icon which you can use to directly email your representative about the importance of zero discrimination day.
On zero discrimination day it is important to show support to ending discrimination everywhere. Whether that discrimination exists in a work place or it exists from the passing comments of strangers. Finding and supporting the organizations that work to end discrimination is a great way to start ending said discrimination. Here are a few organizations that help to support the ending of discrimination for people in many areas.
If you are interested in finding more organizations that are looking to increase equality and end discrimination we strongly suggest visiting “https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/civil-rights-organizations” for a more in depth list of the organizations and what they support.
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