Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It marks a day in 1960 when 69 people were shot to death for participating in a protest in South Africa against the racist government policies of apartheid. It was Brian Mulroney who stood up to Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Raegan in the United States, doing the most of any western leader to fight apartheid in South Africa and to champion the cause of Nelson Mandela.
Ensuring that all Canadians can be recognized on their individual merit is what today is all about. We do this by removing prejudices and stereotypes that hide the true value of each person. We’ve all heard the ‘golden rule’ to treat others as we should wish to be treated. Each of us values our individuality – that which makes us unique. We desire the freedom to express ourselves in exceptional and beautiful ways. Racism hides that individual value and reduces this beautiful mosaic of individual expression to depressingly generic stereotypes. Today, let us each commit to recognize the diversity of our experiences as Canadians, to put the effort into understanding every person as a valuable individual with incredible abilities and talents that better society.