March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 17, 2021

Each year on March 21, we join with unions, human rights activists and organizations worldwide to recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Since the United Nations (UN) initiative was launched in 1966, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been a part of the global fight to end all forms of racism and racial discrimination. It commemorates the lives of 69 people who were killed in 1960 while participating in a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa.

This year, the theme for this day is "Youth standing up against racism." The hashtag #FightRacism will be used, which aims to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination and calls on each and every one of us to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. To learn more about this year's theme and for resources, please click here.

One of our fundamental tasks is to promote -and protect- the human rights of our members, staff, and all Ontarians. We stand against racism, racial discrimination and intolerance. We stand for unity, inclusion and respect for diversity.

The knowledge, compassion and determination of nurses and health-care professionals make them leaders and role models in their communities. They lead by example, and stand up for the human rights of their patients, clients and coworkers when they recognize and speak out against racial discrimination and intolerance.

ONA Resources:

Learn more about ONA's Human Rights and Equity team and their ongoing work here. Watch ONA's "Human Rights and Equity Caucus" video and learn more about the role we play in promoting equity and diversity for our members in the workplace and in the Union.

More Resources:

TOGETHER is a United Nations campaign that promotes respect safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Launched in September 2016, its aim is to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is Canada's leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society.


We have prepared English and French versions of our International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination poster. Below you will find two versions of the poster: a generic poster (PDF) and one with a blank space at the bottom (Word) which Locals can customize with their own message and/or event details. Click on the document name below and download the PDF or Word document of your choosing.

We have also created this shareable image that you can download and post to your social media accounts. Show your support and spread the word!