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(2011-2012 HR#45) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, 2012

Date: March 20, 2012
To: The University of Toronto Community
From: Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Re: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, 2012

The University of Toronto joins with the world community in observing the 2012 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) and emphasizing the need for continued work in eliminating racial discrimination and racism, in all its forms.

Established in 1966 by the United Nations, and observed annually every March 21st, IDERD commemorates the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 when police opened fire killing 69 and injuring 180 peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrators in the South African township of Sharpeville. The UN proclamation called on the world community to increase its efforts in the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and racism. (United Nations, Resolution 2142, XX1).

The elimination of racial discrimination and racism is an essential part of U of T’s efforts to cultivate an equitable and inclusive working and learning environment. This is noted in the University’s Statement of Principle which states that, “(a)n inclusive and equitable environment creates the conditions for our diverse staff and students to maximize their creativity and their contribution and thereby, supporting excellence in all dimensions of the institution.” (Statement of Principle, 2006)

“While the efforts that have been made by the U of T community to eliminate racial discrimination and advance anti-racism through the advocacy, teaching, research, scholarship and work of our students, faculty, staff and other community partners, are indeed significant, so much work remains,” notes Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity. “Commemorating IDERD each March 21 is important, but it is one day. We need to ensure the work resonates throughout the year and that includes talking about the issues.”

Along these lines, the IDERD Advisory Committee, working with the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, are embracing the theme of “Race, Racism and Anti-Racism: Let’s Talk”.

“Working with this theme we’ve created a series of profiles depicting some U of T community members who are employing a variety of approaches to talk about race, racism and anti-racism,” notes Sandra Carnegie-Douglas, U of T’s new Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Officer.

“We plan to expand on this initial promotion by hosting open and respectful discussions about the issues and how we can eliminate racial discrimination and racism, whether it is on an institutional or community level, and / or on a one-to-one basis. We definitely want the theme of IDERD 2012 to permeate our work going forward.”

For more information, please contact:

Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office
http://www.antiracism.utoronto.ca/