There were many horrific incidents of racial discrimination in the 20th century.
They include the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, when a British brigadier-general ordered his soldiers to fire on unarmed civilians in Amritsar, killing almost 400 people. During the Nanjing Massacre, beginning in 1937, Japanese troops committed mass murder and mass rape against residents of the Chinese city, leaving up to 300,000 dead.
There were anywhere from 200,000 to two million killed in communal violence around the time of the partition of British-ruled India into two countries—India and Pakistan—in 1947.
The death toll from the Holocaust was far higher: six million Jewish men, women, and children were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. In addition, Roma people, those with disabilities, communists, socialists, homosexuals, and Jehovah's Witnesses were murdered in large numbers.
Then there were lynchings in the United States and genocidal policies inflicted on Indigenous people in Canada.
But it was the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa on March 21, 1960, that led the United Nations to create the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On that day, South African police opened fire on peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrators, killing 69.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is on Monday (March 21). To coincide with this, the Georgia Straight has featured Metro Vancouver residents advancing the cause of racial justice. Check out these articles and other coverage below.