The Canadian Race Relations Foundation Celebrates the International Day for Tolerance
November 16, 2019 --- In 1996, the UN General Assembly invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November. This invitation followed a 1993 UNESCO initiative to proclaim 1995 as the United Nations Year for Tolerance.
At the time of its proclamation, signatories noted that “the promotion of tolerance appeared ever more urgent, both for Member States, and for the international community as a whole.”
“The passage of time has shown all too clearly the extent to which the international community has fallen short of the goal of tolerance,” said Teresa Woo-Paw, Chairperson of the Board, CRRF. “Even in 1995, those of us who were engaged in the important work of building a diverse and inclusive society recognized that tolerance – defined in the dictionary as the ability to have sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own – was little more than a first step. We wanted more: to build a society in which diversity is welcomed and seen as the means by which multiple perspectives and abilities could be combined to create a richer and more vibrant society. Those goals have not yet been achieved.”
“The middle ground, the place where people with differing opinions could meet and agree to disagree has become smaller and the footing more treacherous,” said Dr. Lilian Ma, CRRF Executive Director. “As discourse has become coarser, the honest and respectful exchange of ideas has been replaced by the launching of memes, and face-to-face discussions supplanted by the anonymity of social media and the resultant loosening of the bonds of civility. It becomes progressively easier for people to find comfort in the company of like-minded individuals, tune out the noise of differing opinions, or tune out altogether.”
“Let’s not give up,” concluded Ms Woo-Paw “Where tolerance has not been achieved, let’s achieve it. Where we’ve reached that plateau, let’s continue to move further. Let’s listen to each other and recognize, especially in those with whom we disagree, our fundamental humanity and give it the attention and respect it deserves.”
In the spirit of improving Canadian race relations the CRRF annouces a ground-breaking new survey on December 10th, in Toronto:
The event will feature a presentation of the survey results, co-produced with the Environics Institute, and will be followed by a distinguished panel who will comment on the significance and implications of the research.
A companion webinar will be held on December 16th for those unable to attend in person.
About the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
The purpose of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is to facilitate throughout Canada the development, sharing and application of knowledge and expertise in order to contribute to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society. The work of the Foundation is premised on the desire to create and nurture an inclusive society based on equity, social harmony, mutual respect and human dignity. Its underlying principle in addressing racism and racial discrimination emphasizes positive race relations and the promotion of shared Canadian values of human rights and democratic institutions.