Inequalities and Racial Discrimination: Who Matters?
By Jade Christinne da Costa de Paula dos Santos
When it comes to thinking about our identity, as young people, we cannot dissociate definitions such as race and history. We are built and socialized by those notions, even if unconsciously. Now more than ever, it is essential to realize that our behaviour, our world perspective, our choices, and opportunities are directly affected by the racial context that surrounds us.
Understanding this specific context requires a sharpened awareness and a comprehensive approach to the social, economic and political systems that continuously seem to restrain freedoms, suppress information and extinguish liberties—further justifying oppression and discrimination. The inequalities that still divide people nowadays are real and the more that they are ignored, the more difficult it becomes to end them.
Culture normally reflects history and from what we know about history, inequality has always existed. Even before we had a word to describe it, inequality has already selected its targets by criteria related to vulnerability and social marginalization. Indeed, prejudice has color, social class, an age group, and a gender. The more of these aspects you have, the more subject you become to being neglected and undervalued in society. However, being born with a specific skin color should not be a synonym to becoming more vulnerable and exposed to violence than others.
While all of these issues are uncomfortable to read about, they are even more painful to live. The global community, especially youth, must create awareness to the fact that racism has been a cruel reality in the past and still affects peoples’ lives. There is a segment of the world’s young people whose own skin color seems to carry their sentence. We must unite in our efforts to resist the idea of a future in which race remains as a determinant in the equation of who gets to survive and how they get to live.
In light of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, established by United Nations General Assembly in 1966 on 21 March— the day of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa that killed 69 people demonstrating peacefully against the apartheid "pass laws" in 1960— we are reminded of our role in the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.
Dandara Palmares, Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Ruby Bridges, Nelson Mandela… these are only some names of those who, as history shows, denied conforming to injustices and who refused to live in a society where people are subjugated by race. Apart from those people, there are many others with “invisible” names who must be recognized and remembered— those who have contributed in the past and who are still contributing for the realization of freedom and whose histories are untold by books and unknown to many. Their legacy is still alive, echoing that inequality is a matter of priority for us as individuals, and collectively as a society, and that dignity must be our generation’s anthem.
Racism masks hatred and intolerance, erases the memories and silences the voices of its victims. It is not compatible with human rights. The inhumanity of racism cannot coexist with justice, and as time passes to the rhythm of our actions (or lack thereof), one virtue may prevail over other. And hopefully, it will be justice.
On 21 March 2017, we should reaffirm our humanity seeking a future in which other people's existences will not only be reminded by a special date of the month but instead as worthy of as much dignity and respect as is deserved every day. The structures that aggregate prejudice must be dismantled by women and men who refuse to condone the silence and will condemn the wounds of racial discrimination. Together, we can shape the present and build a new future of opportunities, dialogue, and understanding for everyone regardless of race, because tomorrow matters to everyone.
About Jade Christinne da Costa de Paula dos Santos :
Jade Christinne da Costa de Paula dos Santos, age 20, is from Brazil. She is a “Youth Ambassador”, selected through the Youth Ambassadors Programme, which is a partnership between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Brazilian company Caixa Seguradora, established with the purpose of empowering young leaders to represent their communities and local interests. Jade is presently a participant in the academic training program of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in New York and also studies Law in University of Brasília. As an afro-descendant, she has been a youth representative at the regional workshop on “Youth Policies and Inequalities in Latin America” (2016), the ECOSOC Youth Forum (2017) and the CSW Youth Forum (2017). She is the founder of a blog, youtube channel and social movement called “Garota Sem Fronteiras” (“Girl Without Borders”, in Portuguese).
The Annual Meeting of the UN Inter-agency Network on Youth Development (UN IANYD) took place from 28-30 March 2017 at the International Training Center of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Turin, Italy. The Network draws together over 40 UN entities to coordinate and collaborate on youth related issues across the UN system, including the implementation and monitoring of the UN System-wide Action Plan on Youth. UN DESA is the permanent co-chair of the Network, will be joined by ILO as the rotating co-chair for 2017-2018. More information on the Network can be found here. More
The Youth and United Nations Global Alliance (YUNGA) is delighted to announce that the Climate Change Challenge Badge is now available online in English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Macedonian and Portuguese! Click on your language and learn about the vital role the climate plays in supporting life on Earth. Look at how your daily lives impact the Earth’s climate and undertake the activities to learn how you can take. Many around the world have already started— see what they have been doing in their communities by clicking here!
ILO: Work4Youth project ‘wrap up’ event
The Youth Employment Programme of the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation organized a one-day event in Geneva, Switzerland on 29 March 2017 to mark the end of the Work4Youth project. The event was an opportunity to showcase the numerous project outputs from 2011 to 2016, with emphasis on the value-added of the new datasets on youth labour market transitions to the realm of policy-oriented research. It also provided a platform to discuss the role of data and research in making ‘smarter’ investments in youth employment. For more information see: www.ilo.org/w4y.
OHCHR: Report - UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law
The first ever UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law was held on 21-22 November 2016 in Geneva under the theme “Widening the democratic space: the role of youth in public decision-making”. The summary report provides highlights of the discussion and important recommendations to States and other relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations. The report is available in all six official languages here.
UNDP: Asia-Pacific Case4Space Photo Competition
The Case4Space Photo Competition is aimed at raising awareness and advocating for civic space in Asia-Pacific through photography. Targeting young people living in Asia and the Pacific (aged 18-29), the competition runs from 15 March to 5 May 2017. Weekly questions on the following themes will be released: Week 1– Freedom of expression, association and assembly; Week 2– Young women and civic space; Week 3– Online safety and security; Week 4– Right to participate; and Week 5– Civic space in your community. Young people will be encouraged to share their best photos each week on Instagram and/or Facebook using #Case4SpaceInsta. More
UNDP: Young peacebuilders gather in Bogotá to discuss their contributions to peace and security
UNDP Colombia and UN Volunteers organized a series of events in Bogotá, Colombia, where young peacebuilders from different regions were invited to meet and share their experiences promoting a culture of peace. Following these events, UNDP, UNV, UNFPA & UNPBSO coordinated a 2-day youth consultation to provide input to the Progress Study mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. Read the stories of these every-day peace ambassadors here!
Gender equality, centred in human rights, is recognized both as a development goal on its own and as vital to accelerating sustainable development. In its latest Fast Facts, UNDP looks at how the entity works to unleash the potential of girls and young women, accelerate efforts to promote young women’s participation and leadership in public life, empower young women economically, and support the inclusion of young women’s voices, needs and contributions, including in the Women, Peace and Security agenda. More
UNICEF: Surf Safe - Adolescents producing and sharing online content with creativity and respect
UNICEF Brazil’s Surf Safe campaign helps provide adolescents with the autonomy and capacity to make good decisions online. The initiative aims to promote online safe behaviour among adolescents and has reached 14 million people in Brazil. Surf Safe addresses issues such as cyber bullying and sexting; online friendship; privacy; reliable sources of information; and online prejudice and intolerance. The work has been supported by the WePROTECT Global Alliance, dedicated to combating online child sexual abuse and exploitation. More
UNODC: First sports training to prevent youth crime kicks off in Brazil
UNODC’s global sports-based life skills training initiative to prevent youth crime, 'Line Up Live Up', has started in Brazil with the training of 25 trainers and sports teachers who regularly work with youth in vulnerable communities. With a view to promote sports for youth development and prevent anti-social and risky behaviour, the initiative is first being tested in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, before being rolled out to other regions, including Latin America, Southern Africa and Central Asia. More
UNFPA/Y-PEER Egypt supports the country’s first electronic census
In close collaboration with the government of Egypt, UNFPA supported Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in the implementation of the 14th national population census. The census is a crucial national project that provides all the necessary statistical data for policy and decision makers to make projections and set appropriate plans for the country. UNFPA provided CAPMAS with 1,400 well-trained Y-PEER leaders who will participate in the data collection as well as complete questionnaires. More
UNFPA/Y-PEER Egypt: Participation at the Egyptian Civil Society Organizations’ forum (ECSO) Forum
As a youth-led network, Y-PEER shared its youth recruitment and retention experiences during the Egyptian Civil Society Organizations’ forum (ECSO), held in partnership with ‘Plan International’ and ‘Children and Development Association’ in March 2017. The ECSO forum gathered 15 local NGOs, working on community development, especially with marginalized youth, in the cities of Assiut and Sohag. The forum was followed by a youth networking event and ‘Our Space - youth initiative’ workshop to map the intervention areas, focusing on volunteerism and youth participation. More
Youth in Action
World Youth Foundation: International Capacity Building Workshop on Green Growth
The World Youth Foundation is organizing an International Capacity Building Workshop on Green Growth from 19 to 23 July 2017 at Melaka, Malaysia. The event is an Opportuniy for young people to discuss, understand, share, find solutions and develop strategies on issues pertaining to green growth, sustainable development, production and consumption that can be implemented at country level. More
ILO: Towards Evidence-Based Active Labour Market Programmes in Egypt: Challenges and Way Forward
This ILO report reviews the evidence base on what works in making Active Labour Market Programmes effective for young people and provides an analysis of the policy framework and stakeholders influencing youth employment programming in Egypt. The research aims to contribute to building consensus around the challenges and opportunities to strengthen evidence-based decision making in the field of youth employment in Egypt. More
ILO: Labour market transitions of young women and men in Madagascar
This ILO report presents the findings of a school-to-work transition survey in Madagascar. The report is part of the Work4Youth Project, a partnership between the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation to promote decent work opportunities for young men and women through knowledge and action. More