March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The words International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination against a multicoloured abstract background.
Credit: Government of Canada
Published On: March 12, 2024

Each year, we mark March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is a particular time to focus on anti-racist actions and to dismantling racism in all its forms. This international day has been observed around the world every year since 1966.

In the United Church, we honour this important day. As the United Church’s anti-racism policy reminds us, the struggle against racism is a continuous effort. This means that anti-racism work is important on any day and every day.

On this international day, and every day, there are many practical ways to work towards anti-racism.

Here are 10 additional suggestions to work towards anti-racism that reflect some of the newest United Church resources:

  1. Take tangible actions locally. You might be inspired by what people in United Church congregations and networks are already doing about anti-racism. Several people have shared their ideas for local action in this new video. What faithful actions might you take in your own context?
  2. Join a community of practice. A new online gathering starting April 22, called Wait—Is This Racist?, is based on the popular book of the same name. This gathering aims to be a community of practice. With members of different congregations, the focus is on co-creating anti-racist communities of faith. Sign up through CHURCHx.
  3. Download the United Church anti-racism app. We have recently updated the design for our mobile app called AR4YT (Anti-Racism for Youth Training). It’s available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The app was designed by Black youth aged 18-22 who are members of the United Church. The new design provides a better interface for chat. Although the app is youth oriented, it can also be used by adults who want to learn about becoming anti-racist.
  4. Explore the priorities of the United Church Foundation. Two of the four priorities focus on anti-racism and on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. There are many ways that the Foundation supports anti-racist efforts: the translation of the Bible into Mohawk, the work on impact investing, and the ongoing work on trust-based granting are just three examples. In addition to reading about this work, financial gifts to the Foundation can support anti-racism efforts.
  5. Explore anti-racism education. Several new courses explore anti-racism education. Upcoming courses include Racial Justice for White Ministers in North America, Racial Justice for White Lay Leaders, and What Now? Action Plans to Dismantle Systemic Racism. Or, watch the recordings from a recent course that focused on antisemitism and anti-Judaism within Christianity, featuring faculty from our United Church theological schools and guests. This course explored Bearing Faithful Witness, a United Church resource that addresses anti-Judaism in worship, liturgy, Christian education, and scriptural interpretation. Recordings will be available on CHURCHx.
  6. Pick up a copy of I Am a Changemaker, the new anti-racism children’s resource. This brand-new United Church of Canada curriculum is written for leaders of children aged 6‒12 who are looking for ways to teach anti-racism, raise anti-racist children, and advance racial equity in a faith-based and supportive way. Now available in the United Church Bookstore.
  7. Financially support Indigenous-led initiatives. Support healing and language programs for Indigenous Residential School Survivors and their families by giving a gift to the United Church’s Healing Fund. You can also support the Indigenous and Racialized Youth Gathering by offering financial support to Mission and Service and through your prayer support.
  8. Read about Leadership Counts! Results are out about the United Church’s identity-based survey about leadership! You can learn more about who our leaders are—our ministry personnel and members of national committees—through the mid-term report. Are you a ministry personnel or committee member who hasn’t yet completed your survey? You can still share about your identities online through ChurchHub.
  9. Review the 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism. Have you had a chance to read the most recent written reflections? They are all available online. You may also want to view some of the recordings of the live events on the United Church’s YouTube channel. The ones on Indigenous Identity in the Christian Church and environmental racism were particularly popular.
  10. Pray and sing justly. Pray continuously! And explore ways to sing justly in your community of faith. The United Church’s Then Let Us Sing! music portal offers principles to consider. You can also explore this recorded webinar with members of the Then Let Us Sing! team that focused on copyright justice and musical misappropriation.

Still curious about additional ways to work towards anti-racism within the United Church and beyond? Explore 10 Ways to Work Towards Anti-Racism from 2022 and 10 More Ways to Work Towards Anti-Racism from 2023.

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