Zero Discrimination Day: A Stand Against Marginalisation

Did you know that today, 1 March, is Zero Discrimination Day?

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning Director, Helga Smit, has reflected on the significance of the annual, worldwide event and is calling on the diocesan community to reject discrimination in all its forms.

“The aim of Zero Discrimination Day is to celebrate everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, height, weight, profession, education and beliefs,” Helga said.

“As an outreach service of the Catholic Church, CatholicCare is committed to standing with and assisting people who are in need or marginalised in our community. Accordingly, we are proud to join high profile organisations, such as the United Nations, in publicly supporting this annual event and in the process, giving a voice to those who face adversity.

“Working with people we support at CatholicCare, and having lived and worked in various countries, has reinforced to me the value of diversity in all its forms. I am proud to work with a team of people who offer support, assistance and empowerment opportunities to families and individuals regardless of their age, gender, physical and intellectual capacity, religion or ethnicity.

“Many countries have laws against discrimination but it's still a problem in all layers of society in every country in the world. It is my hope that today, everyone within the diocese will pause, and reflect on how they can stop discrimination in its tracks and better appreciate everyone for their unique contributions.

Change must start with us. There are no excuses for people within our community to suffer from social and economic exclusion due to prejudice and intolerance,” Ms Smit said.

The UN first celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2014, after UNAIDS, a UN program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone CatholicCare on P 02 4979 1120.

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Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.