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March 21st is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), which we observe every year, usually in City Hall. As I’m sure you know, the IDERD is a commemoration of a terrible massacre of unarmed protesters in South Africa in 1960. In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this as a day of remembrance. Canada was the first country to support the initiative, making it an annual campaign in 1989.

In fact, the Interfaith Centre grew out of this event which we first marked in the early 1990’s. At that time it was unique, in Edmonton and elsewhere, to have people from many different faiths making a public statement, from their own tradition, that we all stand together against racism, and the seeds of the Centre were sown. We firmly believe that organizations like ours can take some credit for the wonderful embrace of diversity that characterizes almost all our citizens.

We have a great program planned for Tuesday March 21 at noon in City Hall, with speakers, music and diverse prayers for mutual respect and human rights, and refreshments.