Kolawole - International Day Elimination of Racial Discrimination blog

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2024

Our BAME Network are proud to be supporting the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today.

Kolawole, one of our Business Analysts, discusses the importance of highlighting the day, and how promoting diversity and equality is incredibly important to ensuring true inclusivity in our organisation.

It was 64 years ago (21 March 1960) at a peaceful demonstration against the oppressive apartheid ‘pass laws’ in Sharpeville South Africa, when the police opened fire and killed 69 unarmed men, women and children at an event described as the ‘Sharpeville Massacre’.

Since then, on every 21 March, communities around the world come together to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle against racial prejudice and discrimination, while also celebrating the richness of diversity that defines humanity. It's a time to reflect on the progress made in promoting racial equality and to recommit ourselves to the cause of building inclusive societies where every individual is valued and respected regardless of their race or ethnicity.

At the heart of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination lies a fundamental recognition of our shared humanity. Regardless of the colour of our skin, the language we speak, or the beliefs we hold, we are all part of the human family. Our diversity is a source of strength, offering a tapestry of cultures, traditions, and perspectives that enriches our collective experience.

However, alongside this celebration of diversity, we must confront the reality that racial discrimination continues to persist in various forms, manifesting in systemic inequalities, biased attitudes, and exclusionary practices. Whether overt or subtle, the impact of racial discrimination can be deeply damaging, perpetuating social divisions, and depriving individuals of their basic rights and opportunities.

NHSBSA is deeply committed to anti-racism, actively empowering our BAME colleagues to lead diversity and inclusion efforts. Recalling my interview before joining NHSBSA, I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse mix of the panel, which included a BAME representative, demonstrating a sincere dedication to inclusivity beyond lip service... hats off to Portfolio Management Directorate! This deliberate demonstration of inclusivity deeply resonated with me, inspiring my decision to join the BAME network and contribute to promoting an inclusive culture.

Together, we have the power to create a world where every individual is treated with respect, dignity, and fairness, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background. Let us seize this opportunity to renew our resolve and work towards a future where the colour of one's skin no longer determines their opportunities or experiences.

In the words of Saint Teresa (who epitomises some of our core values):

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”

Let love, empathy, and understanding guide our actions as we strive to eliminate racial discrimination and build a world where everyone can thrive, united in our shared humanity.