On March 21st, Australia recognizes Harmony Day. This coincides with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination sponsored by the United Nations. Started in 1999, the people of Australia realize that they live in a culture of vast diversity and wish to promote the understanding between all it’s citizens. With a special day set aside to promote understanding between all the people of Australia, this gives them the opportunity to come together and fight racism.
According to the government website there are over 300 different languages that are spoken in the country as well as more then six and a half million migrants to the country since 1945. To show support for this cause an orange ribbon is worn, with directions on how to make one on the site as well.
I have heard a couple of stories in the past year about subjects pertaining to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologizing to the Aboriginal (1) people about wrongs from the past. This has not shown up in my research about the day and the people of Australia may not see the two connected but I do feel that with this and the addition of Harmony Day in 1999 shows an incredible step forward. These actions, though may have drawn criticism (I do not know this but just assume it has from someone), are examples of things many other countries could do to try and correct things from their pasts.
A side note, I want to compliment the ones who named this holiday, it does a much better job then the U.N. in naming something. Don’t get me wrong I fully support the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, it is just too long and I believe that Harmony Day conveys the same message and is more engaging to those who hear it.