Love for Sharpeville, South Africa and the Fight Against Hate

Today is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

By Mu00f3nica Novoa Mar 21, 2011

Today is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It’s a commemoration March 21, 1960, when police killed 69 anti-apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa. Another 180 people were injured. Days after the brutal slayings, the South African government declared a state of emergency and detained 18,000 people following protest marches, strikes, and uprisings.

But the event proved to be an important turning point in the country’s history. The international community’s response was swift, and the South African government found itself isolated in global affairs. Decades later, that global isolation would turn into massive divestment campaigns that ultimately toppled the apartheid government.

In memory of all the lives lost due to racial hatred, we are asking everyone we know to tell everyone they know to sign the pledge to rid public discourse of the slur "illegals" and all related terms. At Colorlines, along with our publisher Applied Research Center, we prepare people to fight for racial justice — and that’s exactly what we are doing with the Drop the I-Word campaign. After all, it’s people of color who are called the i-word and targeted by anti-immigrant laws and hate crimes.

This week, our partner, the Center for New Community, will be working with 40 universities across the country to highlight racial discrimination in the immigration debate with a short 15-minute documentary that shows a delegation of nine students who spent time in Arizona in November of 2011 in the wake of SB 1070. Presenters of the film will also ask people to drop the i-word and sign the pledge this week. Read more over at Drop the I-Word’s campaign website. Stay tuned for more on the film, and how to get involved.

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.