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Nationwide Campaign Inspired By Christchurch Communities

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission has launched a campaign with Ōtautahi Christchurch-based group, InCommon, to encourage people to look past stereotypes to find what they share in common.

The social media campaign launch coincides with Race Relations Day, which Acting Race Relations Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo says “is an important moment to come together to celebrate our diverse communities and remember that we all belong here.”

“No matter our differences, we all want to belong, and while a few people want to divide us and create hate, most of us want to connect and care for each other,” says Sumeo.

In the aftermath of the terror attacks on Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, which killed 51 people, communities in Ōtautahi Christchurch have come together to share kai and discover what they have in common.

“They’ve shared the things they love, quirky things about themselves, and their hopes for themselves and their families. When they did, they discovered their shared values, hopes and aroha.

“They called their organisation ‘InCommon’”, says Sumeo.

The social media campaign is based around photos taken by InCommon in Christchurch of two people meeting for the first time and finding out both what makes them unique and what they have in common.

InCommon builds on the premise that connection across diverse groups leads to more social inclusion and less racist behaviours.

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InCommon’s Project Manager Holly Griffin says, “Racism and prejudice come in many forms and therefore there are many approaches and interventions required. This cannot be the work of one group, or one community alone, it requires us to work together, collaborate, and share ideas.”

Sumeo says she hopes the photos inspire people to look differently at one another. “As you walk down the street or the aisles of the supermarket, imagine the unexpected things you might have in common with the people around you.”

This year’s theme for Race Relations Day is Kia tapatahi - building safer and united communities together.

Sumeo says the articles of te Tiriti o Waitangi provide a foundation for positive race relations in Aotearoa.

“When we honour te Tiriti - as it is - we can find the path to belonging for everyone in Aotearoa.”

The campaign is viewable on the Commission’s website.

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission offers a free and confidential information and dispute resolution service. If anyone feels like they have experienced racial discrimination or other forms of discrimination, they can contact the Commission. The service is guided by tikanga and aims to be accessible to everyone in Aotearoa.

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