March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Alberta joins communities across the globe in support of this day, as we are proud to be a welcoming, multicultural province where human rights are protected and our citizens have the freedom to maintain their traditions. Albertans from every walk of life contribute to the strength and success of our province— from First Nations peoples to immigrants from around the globe.
In 1966, the United Nations (UN) recognized March 21 as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day when the people around the world show their opposition to racism. Much progress has been made (since) in combating discrimination and intolerance, but there are many challenges yet to be overcome.
Supporting culture and preserving heritage are powerful ways in which we can work to eliminate racial discrimination. Tolerance, understanding and respect are promoted when we encourage and celebrate diversity.
Here are two ways we can actively strive towards eliminating racism:
Be part of the community:
Alberta communities honour cultural diversity and give us a chance to celebrate and learn about one another’s tradition through more than 7,000 festivals. In 1974, the Alberta Government declared the first Monday of August an annual holiday to recognize and celebrate the varied cultural heritage of Alberta. For example, there is Edmonton’s Servus Heritage Festival, one of our province’s largest Heritage Day events, with over eighty-five cultures from all over the world participating in this incredible celebration. There is also Calgary’s GlobalFest, which “showcases Calgary’s cultural diversity and artistic excellence within our communities locally and across the globe”.
Honour the past, look to the future:
By maintaining connections to our history and telling the varied stories of our past, museums encourage us to see the world through the eyes of others. The museums and historic sites in our province preserve places and stories of cultural significance, and share these with Albertans and our visitors. Sites such as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, help maintain our connection to the history and of First Nations people in southern Alberta.
From Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, presenting the history of Crowsnest Pass from immigration through coal mining to rum running…to the Ukranian Cultural Heritage Village telling the story of Ukrainian immigrants who settled east central Alberta…to the francophone communities that continue to grow because of diverse cultures…
Festivals and cultural events maintain traditions, and invite Albertans to share in the knowledge and understanding of one another’s backgrounds. Celebrating culture brings us together; it sends a message that diversity is welcome and that promoting understanding and respect is a powerful way in which we can work to towards the elimination of racial discrimination.
For more information: