Winter is slowly passing, and the first day of Spring is nearly upon us on March 21st – also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this day in apartheid South Africa in 1960, the police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, against the apartheid pass laws. The United Nations urged the international community to try to end all forms of racial discrimination, proclaiming this an International day in 1966. My father escaped from his homeland South Africa at this time, holding onto a hope of living a life with freedom to be. Yet it is a sad truth that we are still searching to create a world where human difference and dignity is something to celebrate. Instead, the brutal reality of racism still exists in many people’s lives across the world. And we can be all too quick to divide humanity in ‘them’ and ‘us’ on many levels on our own doorsteps.
Yet positive change is happening; each time we stand up against racism, bigotry, polemic as this manifests across all dimensions of our lives. Not least in looking within ourselves to nurture love, understanding and acceptance of all human difference, alongside appreciating our shared humanity as we live this out day on day.
The words of Nelson Mandela whose life became a symbol of hope across the globe express this beautifully: ‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite’.
As Springtime rises, we hope this finds you well, enjoying and living your truth.
With warmest wishes to you all from Naomi and the Sunrise team
(Naomi Chunilal, NDS Manager)