Human Rights Commission pays tribute to New Zealanders sharing their personal stories of Racism

Human Rights Commission pays tribute to New Zealanders sharing their personal stories of Racism

October 18, 2016

New Zealand’s first nationwide digital campaign against racism and prejudice has reached more than half a million people since its launch last month.

“We pay tribute to those New Zealanders who have begun to talk openly about racial prejudice they have faced in their lives,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“By raising their voices we are slowly helping to replace generations of silence with the stories of racial prejudice faced by everyday New Zealanders.”

Ignoring and playing down racist encounters has been a common theme, with former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd recently noting that “we are polite with our racism.” In the Commission’s latest video, Dame Susan calls on New Zealanders to recognise prejudice and to call it out.

The That’s Us digital campaign has reached nearly 580,000 people, with 157,000 engaging through likes, shares, comments and visits to the new That’s Us website that shares New Zealanders stories of racial prejudice. The Commission has reached more than 1.5 million people across all work streams in the past month. Hundreds of people have already shared their stories of prejudice, while not all will be presented online, all will help inform the Commission’s ongoing work.

Dame Susan says the campaign has only just begun and encouraged New Zealanders to stand up for one another and to keep talking about prejudice and discrimination.  One of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth, New Zealand’s huge demographic change has taken place in less than a generation.

“Racial prejudice is something the entire planet is grappling with and we have the opportunity to get it right and that starts by acknowledging that there is a problem,” said Dame Susan.

“Everyday racism can only be defeated by everyday New Zealanders: however I have huge faith in younger Kiwis to lead the way forward.”

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.