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Cambridge City Council

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Council demonstrates support for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and for World Down Syndrome Day

News release from 19 March 2021

CAMBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL will mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by lighting up The Guildhall on Saturday 20 March in purple.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually by the United Nations on 21 March and this year’s theme is “Youth standing up against racism”.

The day aims to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination and calls on people to tackle racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “We will light up the Guildhall to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism to show our support for tackling inequality and discrimination.

“In 2020, the Black Lives Matter marches drew millions of demonstrators worldwide, including many local demonstrators in the city. Cambridge city councillors expressed their unanimous solidarity with Black Lives Matter with a cross-party motion in July 2020.

“As the community’s democratic voice, the council wants to show leadership locally by tackling racial discrimination and celebrating different cultures.

“That’s why we are looking carefully at our Single Equality Scheme to see what more we can do tackle racism and discrimination and promote equality. This includes continuing to scrutinize our policies and procedures to do all we can to tackle indirect and structural discrimination.

“The council is also a signatory and joint founder of the Cambridgeshire-wide Equality Pledge to celebrate the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community and our aim to make Cambridge and its surrounding areas safe and welcoming to all.”

To tackle racial discrimination and celebrate different cultures in the city, the council undertakes a number of actions including:

  • Running a Racial Harassment Service offering advice and help to anyone living in or visiting Cambridge suffering racial harassment
  • Coordinating annual events in Cambridge for South Asian History Month (15 June to 15 July) and Black History Month (October) that promote the history and contributions of people from these communities in Cambridge and the UK
  • Providing community grants funding to voluntary and community sector organisations to help reduce social and/or economic inequality experienced by ethnic minority communities in Cambridge. For 2021-22, funding has been granted to the Bangladesh Welfare and Cultural Association, Boishakhi Cultural Association, Cambridge African Network and Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Cambridgeshire Vietnamese Refugee Community, Chinese Families Together, Chinese Families Together, Indian Cultural Society and Khidmat Sisters

World Down Syndrome Day

The council is also illuminating the Guildhall in yellow and blue on Sunday 21 March to mark World Down Syndrome Day. This is also observed on 21 March each year by the United Nations and has been since 2012.  

In 2021, the focus of the day is on improving connections to ensure that all people with Down Syndrome can CONNECT and participate on an equal basis with others. People are encouraged to CONNECT by:

  • Sharing ideas, experiences, and knowledge
  • Empower each other to advocate for equal rights for people with Down Syndrome
  • Reach out to key stakeholders to bring about positive change

Cllr Smith added: “We know the powerful contribution people with Down Syndrome can make to our communities and our world. However, stereotypes and prejudices still remain, and World Down Syndrome Day is an important opportunity to stand in solidarity with people with Down Syndrome and to be allies in their fight for equal rights.”

Nationally, the Down Syndrome Association provides support for people with Down Syndrome, their families and carers, and those who live and work with them (www.downs-syndrome.org.uk). 

In Cambridge parents of children and babies with Down Syndrome can contact the Cambridge Babies and Children with Down Syndrome Group that is led by parents, for families with children with Down Syndrome.