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Finland launches antiracism campaign urging individuals to take action

Finland launches antiracism campaign urging individuals to take action

The "I am Antiracist" campaign stresses that passive condemnation of racism is not enough

On Monday 13 September, the Finnish Ministry of Justice and the Equality Commissioner launched a campaign to address racism and encourage young adults to take action against discrimination. The Olen Antirasisti (I am Antiracist) campaign targets the youth and urges them to consider the effects of racial discrimination and bias.

According to the Finnish government, racism is currently widespread as ethnic and religious minorities face discrimination in all areas of society (such as education and work). Acknowledging the need to put an end to this, the country is now sending a clear message: Passive condemnation of racism is not enough, action is needed.

Everyone can participate in the campaign

The campaign’s organisers invite both organisations and individuals to take part in the government’s efforts. On the Olen Antirasisti website, one can find information about antiracism and what it means to be antiracist. In addition to this, the website also provides people with tools to address discrimination and examples of antiracist acts they can adopt.

Taking a case in point, it advises individuals to learn about antiracism independently, without burdening those who face discrimination. In other words, it teaches citizens that it is not the duty or task of those who face racism to educate others. Instead, one must do the work on their own and address racist behaviour when they witness it.

The campaign website similarly provides organisations with advice and tools to promote equality. For instance, they can update their equality plan, provide antiracism training, develop policies to address hate speech online and contribute to staff diversity. The organisations participating in the antiracism campaign must also fill out a form on the Olen Antirasisti website.

Olen Antirasisti campaign logo
Source: The Finnish Ministry of Justice

Creating a racist-free Finland

Commenting on the need for such actions, Equality Commissioner Kristina Stenman explained: “Racism is a serious equality problem and threatens the safety and mental health of many children and young people in their daily lives. We must do everything we can to tackle racism. That work must not be left to people belonging to minorities alone.

The widespread involvement of organizations in the campaign sends a strong message that racism is not acceptable and that there is a desire to take active action on a broad front. Each of us can be building a society where every human being is dignified and equal.”

As part of the campaign, individuals and organisations should share their knowledge and experience on social media, using the hashtags #OlenAntirasisti, #JagÄrAntirasist and #IAmantiracist. In this way, the government hopes that the message will reach as many people as possible.

According to the Olen Antirasisti website, the campaign aims to create a racist-free Finland.

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