Members of the Superdiversity Institute, New Zealand Asian Leaders and Super Diverse Women had an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss what they could do to stand with the many who have suffered in the Christchurch terrorism massacre.
“Our members have all spoken with one voice, that they want us to show leadership in naming racism, and hatred for what it is and they have all agreed to the following statement:
What happened in Christchurch was not a surprise to most of us as we and our families have experienced degrees of violence and hatred through being discriminated against because of our different ethnicity, religion, sexuality or disability. Whether we have been here for many generations or a shorter period, as New Zealanders, we want to be treated as kiwis. We ask the same of all New Zealanders that we ask of ourselves – to take a hard look at our own conscious and unconscious bias’ against people of different ethnicities and religions. We all as New Zealanders need to hold ourselves to a higher standard of zero tolerance for racism. We salute the many Maori and Pakeha champions against racism already working with us to ensure that the violence and bloodshed we saw in Christchurch does not happen again. If we try and minimise this as an act of a lone gunman, then it will just happen again.
The one thing our members have in common is that
they understand what it is to be discriminated against, whether on the basis of
ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, culture, language, or a
combination of these things. We stand as leaders for inclusiveness and for the
value that all should be accorded respect and dignity, regardless of
differences in identity.
To that end, we have agreed to do the following immediately:
1. Leaders will post their experiences of discrimination to underscore that discrimination is still very real in this country and we still have a way to go in treating everyone of whatever ethnicity, race or religion in an equal and respectful way
2. The “What we do in our every day relationships Challenge” – where people can post what they are doing to fight racism and ignorance. For example, learning the difference between Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, or making visible unconscious racial bias’.
3. Creating an online space where people can share their experiences of discrimination, and get support.