Using our voice to stand up to racism

Today, March 21st, is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The 2022 theme is ‘voices for action against racism’.

Racism is a violation of children’s rights. Not only does it violate children’s right to be free from discrimination (Article 2 UNCRC) and all forms of violence (Article 19) but it can restrict children’s access to other rights such as the right to education, the right to health and the right to play.

Every single one of us needs to use our voice to stand up to racism which remains so deeply entrenched in our society and communities. People who have been racialised need to be able to safely and meaningfully be a part of participation processes – what feels safe and meaningful needs to be decided by them. Children and families of different races and ethnicities need to be involved from the outset in decision-making and planning processes. Moreover, children and young people need to be able to express themselves fully and freely, including in their contributions to civic spaces.

To be a powerful vehicle of change, we need to stand up against racial discrimination and support individuals and organisations who have been racialised to have a seat at every table and have their voices heard. Just as importantly, we all need to be listening and ready to act on their views.

After many months of engaging with our members and supporters, we gathered a wealth of information for our 2022 State of Children’s Rights report. With this information, we aimed to support members to implement a child rights-based approach to everything they do. This approach may help organisations and individuals on their journey to become a voice of action against racism. In the report, we identified resources, practical suggestions and case studies of the promising practice on challenging direct and indirect discrimination (including racism) and furthering children and young people’s equitable participation.

We learned more about the importance of anti-racism education to help children and adults to learn about the harmful consequences of racism and encourage them to actively challenge it wherever it occurs. In addition, anti-racism education develops an understanding of Scotland’s role in empire, colonialism and transatlantic slavery, and the diversity of Scottish society in the past. It helps learners understand how Scotland’s colonial past plays a role in their current everyday lives, acknowledging the successes and impact of Minority Ethnic historical figures, in relation to Scottish and global history.

We looked at the importance of carrying out Child Rights Impact Assessments to identify groups of children and young people that may be negatively impacted by a policy or practice. These can help identify actions to address the needs of specific marginalised communities.

We are keen to learn from you about the ways in which you are putting anti-racism at the heart of your practice and using your voice to disrupt institutional racism in Scotland more broadly. Please get in touch if you have ideas or feedback about how Together can do better and do more to address racism in our area of work.

We hope our State of Children’s Rights Report for 2022 can be a useful, children’s rights ‘touchstone’  as you strive to become a voice of action against racism.

Our report can be read here.


*Disclaimer*

Together is working to ensure our membership represents the needs and rights of every child. The work we must undertake is essential and we have outlined this in our Anti-racism plan. We want to strengthen and centre the voices of racialised individuals and groups. Therefore, if you have any resources you would like to share with us or any feedback on our Anti-racism action plan, please do email info@togetherscotland.org.uk

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