In 1996, the UN General Assembly invited U.N. Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance every year on the 16th of November.
What exactly does having “tolerance” mean and why should we care?
Tolerance is neither indifference nor indulgence. It is showing respect for others, their opinions, and beliefs along with having an appreciation of the variety of backgrounds that our neighbors come from. It is also acting without hostility and prejudice toward others. Practicing tolerance allows us to recognize the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. This idea of tolerance is the foundation for a free and just community where we all enjoy the same basic human rights and enjoy harmony amongst all of its citizens.
This International Day for Tolerance was created to be a day to stand up against those who disregard the diversity of our communities, states, and nations. To stand up against those who discriminate, marginalize, and stereotype groups of people based on our differences.
The YWCA is dedicated to our mission: eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We know that being a person who embodies tolerance will help bring peace, freedom, and harmony through respect to our communities. The question is: how do we get to where we are a living embodiment of this ideal community?
On November 16th, YWCA Charleston invites you to take 5 steps to bring us closer to a tolerant ideal community.
Introspectively look at the way you treat and speak to others. Is how you are treating others reflecting tolerance? Can we do more as individuals to be the change in the community we all want to see?
Involve yourself and your family in situations where diversity is present. Try something new. Go and meet new people. Expose your children to a different culture, and don’t be intimidated by the idea of this experience!
Make a conscious effort to wish everyone you encounter the best regardless of any differences you hold. Breathing love in to every interaction you have brings us all closer together.
Accept others for exactly who they are. Do not expect them to change to be more like you.
Remember that we are all in this together.
We can all do our own small part to celebrate this Day of Tolerance. We can individually show that we have respect and appreciation for the world’s rich variety of cultures, religions, histories, forms of expression, and ways of being human. Each person and every interaction makes a difference. How are you going to make a difference today?