International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was officially marked in Red Deer on Sunday.
The Central Alberta Refugee Effort, in partnership with other local agencies, hosted Our Mosaic, an event that featured various ethnic food, dancing and entertainment at Festival Hall on 58th Street.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling signed and declared a proclamation to commemorate March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — a day that will now be celebrated every year in Red Deer.
“Plurality is about humility,” Flewwelling said in a speech on Sunday — further announcing that the city is working on becoming an members of the AUMA Welcoming and Inclusive Partnership Communities Initiative.
“That is where this council will be headed,” he said. Following the mayor’s address, aboriginal dancers from the Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe and Polynesian dancers performed in front of the cultural crowd.
Kim Southcombe, Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe events co-ordinator, came to Red Deer 15 years ago and said that it is events like Our Mosaic that make newcomers feel welcome and at home.
“Here in this community there are so many family oriented events on a regular basis and you see people in the community over and over again and it is those people who have become our kookums, our aunties and our cousins that we miss from home,” she said on Sunday.
Jan Underwood, co-ordinator and community educator of Central Alberta Refugee Effort, noted that curbing racism starts when people get to know one another.
“We have seen that today,” she said.
“People are mingling, little children of all cultures are dancing together. When you see it happening it is very inspirational,” she said while fighting back emotion.
The proclamation of March 21 was the result of the happenings of March 21, 1960 where police open-fired on and killed 69 people protesting an apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa. For the past 16 years people have been uniting to support individuals who have experienced racial discrimination.
Multicultural stories, games and crafts will take place at the Red Deer Public Library at 4814 49th Street in the children’s department on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. to also commemorate the day.