Every year on March 21, people around the world gather in their communities with a common goal–the elimination of racism. Since the 1960 massacre of anti-apartheid demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, the date has been a symbol of the need to protect human rights. In 1966, the United Nations formally recognized the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to commemorate the men, women and children who died on that day. This year, Partners Against Racism (PAR) is asking young people to take an active role in ending racism in their communities. Eliminating Racism: The Power of Youth will engage Nova Scotia youth through discussions, a mini-film festival and inspirational speakers. It will encourage them to reflect on their own actions and come up with positive solutions. “This event is very different from those of previous years,” said Michael Noonan, acting director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. “There is a strong focus on engaging youth participation. Young people have the power to affect their communities in amazing ways.” To coincide with the film festival format, director-producer Sobaz Benjamin will talk to participants about using film as a tool for change. Mr. Benjamin will also accept the Human Rights Award for his positive work with youth and promoting change through film. “Mr. Benjamin has done significant work examining racism and working towards solutions in his films,” said Sandra Smith Muir, co-chair of PAR. “The event will give participants the chance to see some of his work as well as hear, first-hand, why he believes it is so important to spread his message.” Mr. Benjamin will visit elementary and junior high students in Wolfville, Kings Co., on Tuesday, March 20, to discuss issues of racism. In the evening, he will speak at Acadia University for their International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination event. Mr. Benjamin will screen his award-winning film Race is a Four-letter Word at 7 p.m in the KC Irving Centre. The events are sponsored by Acadia’s Equity Office and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission with participation from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. On Monday, March 19, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Cape Breton University Human Rights Office and Cape Breton Regional Municipality Affirmative Action Committee will host Stop Racism: A Community Dialogue in Sydney. Highlights include a harmony breakfast, entertainment by the Inspirational Singers, a drama presentation from students of Holy Angels High School, a keynote speech by Mr. Noonan and the presentation of the Carl “Campy” Crawford Award. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room, Cape Breton University. “We are pleased that events are taking place across the province in recognition of this important day,” said Mr. Noonan. “Participation in these events continues to grow. I believe people understand they can be part of the solution by countering racism in their communities.” The Partners Against Racism event will be held at St. Andrew’s Centre, 6955 Bayers Rd., Halifax from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Due to the emotional content it is best suited for participants over the age of 13.