The Community Alliance Against Racism (CAAR)
A Community-Led Strategic Alliance to Dismantle Racism in Ireland
On the 21st March 2021, AkiDwA held and online webinar to mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, entitled “Let’s Share the Weight of Racism”. There were over 70 participants in this webinar who expressed an interest in establishing a community-led intervention to address racism. The main demand was for support for victims and those affected by racism. There was a wish to have a platform where people could share their experiences and articulate solutions to addressing racism in Irish society. On conclusion of the webinar, it was agreed that AkiDwA would establish a such a platform moving forward – and so The Community Alliance Ageists Racism (CAAR) was formed. The main aims of CAAR are to support the victim, as well as to work towards awareness raising and education at all levels of society. The activities of this platform will be run under AkiDwA until specific organisational structures are put into place.
The objective of the CAAR is:
- To provide a platform where those who are affected directly by racism can share their experiences, articulate actions and suggest solutions, working with experts, policy makers, allies, and others in combatting racism.
The CAAR will identify and establish support at local, regional and national level. We welcome volunteers and anyone interested to support our work in this platform.
Context for the CAAR
What is Racism?
“Racism is a system of dominance, power and privilege based on racial group designations….where members of the dominant group create or accept their societal privilege by maintaining structures, ideology, values, and behaviour that have the intent or effect of leaving non-dominant group members relatively excluded from power, esteem, status and or equal access to societal resources” (Harrell, 2000).
What has AkiDwA Done about Racism?
The death of George Floyd on 25th May 2020 generated discussions and debate on racism and the important of tackling racism at all levels of society. AkiDwA held a conference on dismantling racism in June 2020 and from that meeting an action was taken to establish strategic alliance, a group that would work towards taking actions, especially on the area of supporting the victim and working towards dismantling racism. One of the drives that led to the establishment of AkiDwA in 2000 was the many experiences of racism, both verbal and physical, that migrant women were experiencing at the time. Many people have shared their experiences of racism through the organisation’s work on racism since then.
How does Racism in Ireland Look?
In a survey carried out in 2019, AkiDwA explored the causes of racism with members. The following generalisations were highlighted as being prevalent in Ireland:
- Being unaware of other cultures/ignorance
- Fear of the unknown
- Myth that there are fewer job opportunities for Irish nationals because of migrants
- Misconceptions that all migrants are uneducated
- Misconceptions that all migrants are unaware of policies and procedures
- Unwillingness to adopt change/traditional Irish culture