I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Thought provoking words of Martin Luther King. A very noble dream, a dream that has unfortunately not come to fruition just yet.
March 1st marks the Zero Discrimination Day, a day established by the UNAIDS organization, this year focusing on the equality of healthcare, as it is a human right for everybody to have access.
Most people seem to think that our world has become very tolerant. Its nothing compared to decades ago. and I have a gay cousin. Yes. You might have a gay cousin but do you think that this person is fully accepted into society? Do you think that a woman is viewed upon equally as a man is? Do you think that an african american is not more likely to be suspected of a crime than others? Well the sad answer is no. Discrimination, while having reduced a lot since the past, is still a very relevant topic in todays society.
- African-American women earn 64 cents and Latina women earn 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man.
- Up to 64% of transgender people report incomes below 24,000$.
- Harassment of women over religious dress occurred in nearly 1/3 of countries in 2012.
As much progress as has been made, any form of discrimination that prevails is unacceptable. You should not feel less than, just because we are not all clones of each other. Our differences are what makes us unique, theyre what makes us interesting. Imagine how dreary our existence would be, if we were all the same. Differences should be celebrated.
And yet, there are still reports of women being raped on college campuses, of violence against people of other origins or with other orientations. What is the point? What makes someones heart be so full of hatred and anguish that they would want to cause such harm to others, they dont even know.
However, discrimination doesnt just lead to economic and social deficits for minorities. It also has a psychological effect and can often lead to anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. All for what?
Now what is the solution? There are many organisations that work to reduce discrimination everywhere and incredible progress has already been made. The truth is, that the best way to eradicate any form of discrimination is to start with the young generation and make sure that they are open minded, worldly and accept everyone. They need to be in contact with different cultures and different people from an early age on and they need to be shown by the adults that being accepting is not a choice it should be a given.
In AIESEC we pride ourselves with being tolerant. Among the 70.000 active members across the whole planet, our organization is incredibly diverse and accepting of all people.
In AIESEC we pride ourselves with truly living in diversity. In fact, it is even one of our values. But why we try to ensure that ideal within the organization, there is still a long way ahead in this fight for equality and acceptance of all.
Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike. – Ban Ki Moon
There is a lot that we can and must do to rid ourselves of the discriminatory world that we live in. The first step is to stop discriminating ourselves, which is something that often happens subconsciously. In those moments, take a second and think to yourselves or if your feelings and thoughts are coming from a place of privilege or ignorance? Be conscious and aware of what you say and how you treat people around you. Take more interest in the history, realities, issues of different cultures and communities. Make an effort to be an aware world citizen. If not, then just dismiss them.
We need to be role models for youth, because they look up to the older generation and we have to provide them with an open attitude and an environment of acceptance if we ever hope to live in a world of true equality.
From Bamako to Baltimore, the right to health belongs to all. On this #ZeroDiscrimination Day let us commit to ensuring everyone, everywhere can access health care safely and live life fully with dignity. Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director
Are you taking action?