21st March 2016 – “Hand in Hand Against Racism”
To celebrate Anti-Racism Day 2016, Omladinska organizacija Svitac organized three workshops both for young people and for adults with the theme “Hand-in-Hand Against Racism”.
The first workshop was held in the Youth centre from 11.00 am – 1.00 pm for children aged 4 – 7 years. There were 20 participants. This year’s activities involved reading the children story “Somehow Different” from Kathryn Cave, while showing the children illustrations fitting to the story. The story is about an animal, with the name “somehow different”, who is being excluded by the other animals because his hair is blue and he does things like eating or drawing different from the others. However, one day he meets another animal who is like him: somehow different. At first, he is afraid of his orange hair and the hands that look like flappers, but then they become friends. From now on, whenever someone who is different knocks on the door, they let him in and they sit together a little bit closer.
After reading the story, the children were asked to talk about what they have heard, and all of them agreed that you can be friends with someone, although he or she is different from you. They also mentioned differences between humans like hair, skin colour, gender or the countries we come from. In order to come back to the story and let them do something with their hands, they were asked to draw one situation from the story on white paper, and most of them drew the two friends playing together. The workshop was completed by a break where they played group games and sang together.
“Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus strike”
Being probably the most famous leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the America of the 1960s, Rosa Parks was the topic for the second workshop on this day, which was held from 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm for young people from 8 – 12 years. The 15 participants read the famous story about Rosa Parks sitting in the bus and being forced to stand up by the police. The story was written from the perspective of Rosa Parks, which made it more interesting for them. Through the story, they also got some basic background information on the laws of racial segregation and discrimination in the USA that existed from 1950 – 1960. In the middle, there was made a break and the children were asked how they think the story will go on. They were very eagerly discussing if Rosa Parks will stand up or refuse to do so. Furthermore, they were asked questions like “How do you think Rosa Parks feels?” or “What could the other people in the bus have done?”. All of them agreed on the unfairness of these laws and were putting themselves into Rosa Park’s place. After hearing the end, they were told the meaning of the event and the term “racism” and asked to think about how this is connected to our story. At the end of the workshop, each of them cut out a human figure. All these figures were then put together to one chain, which created a visual representation of the day’s theme: “Hand in Hand Against Racism”.
“Short Film Evening and Discussion”
In the evening from 7.30pm – 9.00pm, Omladinska organizacija Svitac organized a film evening with a discussion for adults, which had 21 participants. At the beginning, the participants were told about the meaning of the Anti-Racism Day and its history. After that, they were shown the four short films “Vulnerable”, “Jafar”, “Racism” and “The Silent Truth”. All of them dealt with important aspects connected to racism like prejudices, wrong assumptions about other people, discrimination, fear of difference and diversity. Afterwards, the participants were divided into four groups in order to discuss about the films, evaluate the way that racism is shown and the effect of the film against racism.
The participants were now asked to present their results written on a poster to each other and after every presentation, they had the possibility to react to what was said. These presentations led to more general questions like “What is racism?”, “Where can we find it?” and “What can we do to bring people together?”, which were very eagerly discussed by the groups. All in all, it was a very inspiring discussion with guests and volunteers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Canada, Austria and Scotland, each contributing with their different opinions, cultural backgrounds and experiences. The evening was completed with a small group energiser, where the participants stood in a circle and thanked each other for the discussion.
Total number of participants: 56
Total number of international volunteers supporting: 5
Total number of local volunteers supporting: 1
Total number of coordinating volunteers: 1
Total number of Svitac staff supporting: 3