Sunday, February 4, 2007

Diversity team at work

Brigitte - Naïma - Maxime & Vladimir...

Special thanks to Brigitte,


Team I

From left to right :

1. Luis Manuel Pinto - Belgium - Coordinator of European Peer Training Organisation
2. Beata Olahova - Slovakia - Member of and active in the Forum of European Roma Young People

3. Manuela Tavares - Portugal - Project manager and Trainer - Young Women from Minorities

4. Quentin Guffens - Ouffet High's school Student in Belgium & actif participant of organisation “Le monde des possibles” – A school for the new comers

5. Naïma Amezziane - Social worker in “Le Jardin des Enfants” ASBL, a social centre for creative expression in Belgium
6. Turgut Dag - German citizen of Kurdish origin, Living in Berlin, Working for “Anne-Frank-Zentrum” on anti-racism

7. David Joyce - Student - Young member of the Travelling Community of Ireland
8. Benjamin Horvath - Born in Germany, Swedish citizen - Founding member of “Jung und Jüdisch”

9. Lisette Kampus - Originally from Tallin, Estonoa, currently living and working in Warsaw
in Gay Rights organisation: Campaign Against Homophobia
10. Aglaia Katsigianni - Greece - President of the Paraplegic Association of Drama
11. Rolf Brederlow - German actor
12. Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
13. Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Federal Minister Ursula von der Leyen
14. Ronny Ziesmer, former German gymnast

All wishes start: “With you we are ready to…”

1. Benjamin
With you, we are ready to close the gap between the official objectives of the year and reality.

2. Aglaia
With you, we are ready to encourage everyone suffering or witnessing discrimination to stand up against it.

3. Naïma
With you, we are ready to remind others that there are already existing laws against discrimination to be used.

4. Quentin
With you, we are ready to support the implementation of European anti-discrimination laws at national level in all member states.

5. David
With you, we are ready to promote existing awareness raising initiatives linked with the objectives the year.

6. Turgut
With you, we are ready to remind the medias of their responsibility in shaping people’s opinions.

7. Beata
With you, we are ready to encourage the national implementation bodies and all actors of the year to promote equality and mutual respect within schools and other educational institutions.

8. Lisette
With you, we are ready to protect the freedom of assembly of all groups promoting the objectives of the year.

9. Manuela
With you, we are ready to make sure that discriminated groups are represented in decision making processes of this year and future years.

10. Luis
With you, we are ready to fight for recognition of all forms of discrimination beyond the ones officially recognized in Article 13

Aglaia’s Story: “Disabled way of life” by Luis

As a disabled child, I was wondering and sometimes got very angry why I couldn’t go anywhere where non-disabled kids went. My parents kept explaining me that there are stairs. Later I was also wondering why some of my fellow-aged disabled citizens don’t drive their wheelchairs on the sideways, but on the streets. My parents had to carry me on their shoulders for hundreds of steps so that I could get a proper education.
As a teenager my friends also had to carry me in their arms for hundreds of meters, steps, busses etc so that I could go out with them and have fun.
Disability for me, my family and my environment was, is and probably continues to be a way of life.
As an adult I have decided to get actively involved with the disabled people in my area and together with some other disabled friends, we started a local association 13 years ago.
Today I am very proud to say that my city is one of the most accessible ones in my country. Disabled kids and their families have a lot less problems than my parents did and elderly disabled and non-disabled fellow citizens can walk safely in most of the sidewalks of our little city.
What I’ve learned during all those years is that “Attitude is the real disability”. So lets keep our hearts and minds open to everything and everyone different from ourselves. We must never forget what they say – minds are like parachutes, they only work when they are opened.
Lets make a difference, all together!

Luis’ Story: “Different Identities” by Quentin

Au Portugal, les autres me rappelaient toujours que je n’étais pas un « vrai homme » : je n’aimais pas le football et je ne cherchais pas les filles comme partenaires. Cela leur semblait la chose plus importante a mon sujet.
Quand j’ai déménagé en Belgique, en cohabitant avec un Arabe Musulman et en travaillant au CEJI, une organisation juive, je me suis rendu compte que c’était mon bagage catholique qui devenait le plus visible.
Alors que je roulais à vélo et que j’ai brulé un fer rouge, je me suis fait arrêter par un policier qui me parlait Français trop rapidement pour que je le comprenne. Je lui demanda de parler plus lentement car le Français n’était pas ma langue maternelle. Il m’a alors demandé quelle est-elle? Quand j’ai répondu “le Portugais” il secoua la tête mine de dire “Ok, tout s’explique.”
J’ai compris que je serais toujours le gay, le chrétien, le portugais, l’immigrant. Je serai toujours « l’autre » de quelqu’un.
Je voudrais avoir le droit à la différence, quand la différence est importante et le droit à l’indifférence, quand la différence n’est pas importante.