A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people.
“How we treat other people will define what kind of country we become and what kind of person a New Zealander is,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Today some iconic Kiwis are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Human Rights Commission and asking us all to give nothing to racism, to give it no tolerance, to give it no acceptance and to give it no welcome. They make me incredibly proud to be a New Zealander.”
“Our campaign is hard case as well as hard hitting. It’s done in a uniquely Kiwi way.”
Overseas and closer to home, racial intolerance and overt attacks are on the rise. 1 in 3 complaints to the Human Rights Commission are about racial discrimination but the overwhelming majority of people never complain when they’re humiliated or abused.
“Hatred and extremism is becoming normal in some places and we want to avoid that future for Aotearoa. Racial prejudice and intolerance starts small, in quiet places, in our everyday lives. When it becomes normalised it turns into overt racism and extremism,” said Dame Susan.
“We live in one of the most ethnically diverse nations on the planet – as well as one of the most peaceful. Whether it stays that way will depend on us, every New Zealander has a role to play in our future. Racism starts small but so too does hope.”
“New Zealanders have a right to discuss important issues like immigration and housing: but we need to do it without racism. Play the ball not the person.”
Today’s campaign is the second stage of an ongoing, nationwide anti-racism campaign. Last September the Commission launched a website that enabled everyday New Zealanders to share their personal stories of racism. It let people who hadn’t experienced racism or prejudice to hear from people who have. The That’s Us campaign has so far reached more than 3 million people.
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