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We can Breathe

Together we can breathe is a four-year project of ASSURE UGANDA(AU) was launched. The project is calling for global togetherness through unique approaches. The terrifying words of George Floyd, as he was pinned to the ground by a white American policeman in an illegal act of police violence and extra-judicial murder in Minnesota on May 25th 2020 propelled global demand for Unity in diversity.

The video of Floyd’s torture and murder stirred agony and outrage amongst the American, Africa communities and beyond. The sight of Police officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground, with his knee to the back of Floyd’s throat, despite the pleas of the crowd and of Floyd himself, frames a life, a death and a system in the United States, and globally, where it is very obvious that the age-long display that black lives don’t matter remains fresh in the psyche and the behaviour of members of the white colour.

Not only the black people are facing it alone but also Asian-America and Europe decent. Some 17% of Asian Americans reported sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats and other incidents, up from 11% last year. Half of them said the harassment was spurred by their race or ethnicity, according to the survey from anti-hate groups. Overall, 21% of Asian-American respondents said they were harassed online. To worsen it all, the shootings of six women of Asian descent, at Atlanta-area massage parlors, escalated concern that racist and xenophobic rants online are spilling over into real-world violence. Hate and stigma against Asian-American populations have gone viral during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social media has significantly contributed to the pandemic of prejudice and hate against Asian populations globally, with its power to freely move across time zones and social geographies, social media has turned terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus' into race-based stigma against Asian groups in the United States and overseas. In South Africa, Xenophobic harassment and violence against African and Asian foreigners living in South Africa are routine and sometimes lethal. xenophobic incidents in the year after the government adopted the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Human Rights Watch documented killings, serious injuries, forced displacement, discrimination, and barriers to justice and basic services. The problems include indifference, denial and tacit approval of xenophobic actions by government and law enforcement authorities, barriers to legal representation, and difficulty in acquiring and renewing documents to maintain legal status and to access services including education and health care. “Non-South African nationals have suffered wave after wave of xenophobic violence and live-in constant fear of being targeted solely for not being South African,” said Kristi Ueda, Africa division fellow at Human Rights Watch. In Uganda hate speeches including genocide threats and ideology is heightening. Some ethnic groups in Uganda are being branded as not natives with allegations that such ethnics are in leadership of this country.

For example, the Banyarwanda are being threatened as well as westerners living in Buganda accusing them of taking the lions’ share of the national cake, the other tribes especially Baganda in the central region are always attacked for being conservatives to their cultural beliefs other than respecting the central government. We have seen many people of Rwandan origin get arrested upon trying to process their passports and national ID that has slowed their livelihood activities since without legal identity transactions can barely happen. The Banyarwanda in Uganda have reached to the extent of taking their cry to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) over on-line harassment and promotion of genocide. Not only the Banyarwanda and westerners but also Asian origin people have been attacked on several occasions for engaging themselves in small business which native Ugandans claim that they would be the ones doing such. Therefore, the problem at hand is the mental fog among the people more so the youth both locally, in the diaspora, globally but more so black young people, in America, Africa and youth of Asian- America decent in America and Asia caused by slogans like black lives don’t matter, Asian Virus, this could call for mobile hostility against white people while in Africa and Asia respectively. Therefore, Assure Uganda is using strategies to address both institutional and individual sources of prejudice and discrimination in the contexts and situations in which the target participants in this enthusiastic project will learn, work, and live. Our approach will seek to influence the behavior of individuals, including their motivation and capability to influence others, and not be limited to efforts to increase knowledge and awareness. The main goal of this campaign is “Unity in diversity is better that unity in similarities.”

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