Press release: U.S. Congressman Hastings recognizes Black Europeans in honour of the International Year for People of African Descent
Brussels, 9 August 2011
The ENAR Foundation welcomes the recognition by U.S. Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) of persons of African descent in Europe. This recognition is expressed in the resolution introduced by Congressman Hastings in the U.S. House of Representatives in honour of the International Year for People of African Descent.
The resolution recalls that although persons of African descent have long had a presence in Europe, forming an influential part of African diaspora with an estimated 7 million persons of African descent currently living in Europe, they have continued to experience higher incidents of discrimination, racist crime, and victimization, and lack awareness of their rights more than most other minority groups. Accordingly, the resolution seeks to strengthen national actions to ensure that people of African descent enjoy economic, cultural, social, civil, and political rights, as well as promote a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.
The resolution recognizes ENAR Foundation, the first antiracist foundation in Europe, as a major initiative for combating racism, xenophobia and related intolerance in Europe, as well as the activities of several other non-governmental and government bodies.
The resolution identifies and outlines specific measures to develop and implement initiatives to combat racial discrimination, and promote racial equality in Europe. The outlined initiatives include, among many others, drafting and implementing laws and policies to address discrimination and disparities and promote equality. For the purposes of fulfilling the outlined measures, the resolution (1) urges European governments and members of civil society and the private sector to work together with Black European communities by “promoting and funding research, including the collection of national census data on Black Europeans and their inclusion in the annual reports of the EUFRA [European Union Fundamental Rights Agency]” and “revising textbooks, increasing efforts to include Black Europeans in history and heritage institutions, and remembering victims of colonialism, slavery, and other atrocities”, (2) urges the US Secretary of State to “provide technical assistance and other support for European governments and members of the civil society and private sector”
In thus honouring the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent designated by the United Nations to commemorate the heritage and contributions of African descendants around the world, Congressman Hastings’ resolution recognizes that diversity, openness, and tolerance - ENAR’s bread and butter issues - are inevitable for the furtherance of the heritage and contributions of African descendants and for the attainment of racial equality.
Mr Hastings’ resolution is a welcome boost to the overall vision of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the objectives of the ENAR Foundation. Mr Hastings has been actively supporting the work of ENAR and the ENAR Foundation. Unable to personally attend the ENAR Foundation Gala in June 2011, Congressman Hastings very kindly recorded a video address, which was played to the Gala audience. We much appreciate the resolution and attention Mr Hastings devotes to promoting equality and raising awareness of the particular situation of People of African Descent.
“We take pride in the resolution’s recognition of the role and mission of ENAR Foundation,” said ENAR Foundation Chair, Dr Chibo Onyeji. “We are confident that the resolution will facilitate progress towards ENAR Foundation’s vision of a racism-free Europe.”
(1) A copy of the resolution is attached and can be found at: http://www.enarfoundation.eu/IMG/pdf/HASTFL_046_xml.pdf
A copy of the video from Congressman’s speech can be found at http://www.enarfoundation.eu/misc/galerie-home/article/1st-charity-gala