The Colours of People - Fighting Racism One Post at a Time
By Aisha Smoorenberg & Sarina van Dijk.
What would you do if you got the opportunity to make a difference?
For us, the decision became clear when we came together to see where our mutual interests lie. This semester, at the beginning of September 2020, we started our journey of the Value Creators - a semester that would allow us to develop and execute a project from start to finish.
As Women of Colour, we felt that we were called to make the Netherlands a safer, better, kinder, and more understanding place for People of Colour. As we have personally experienced different forms of racism and have seen how others suffer from these injustices as well, we wanted to take this opportunity to do something about it.
When we started this journey, we were challenged with the responsibility to take charge of the entire project, which began with identifying the relevant stakeholders. As we started reaching out to the network that we were slowly building up, we didn’t expect such a grand response to our call to action. We quickly started receiving support from our network as they expressed their interest in our ideas for a final product.
If you would have told us at the beginning of the semester that we would be supported and encouraged by organisations we looked up to, we wouldn’t believe you! To develop and lead a project plan for Amnesty International, initiate the incorporation of important Racism and Discrimination themed dialogues in the curriculum of WHC, were outcomes that we couldn’t have imagined, yet we embraced them courageously. We felt like we were defying the odds of anything being possible when you have the heart for a cause and a passion that is never-ending.
Throughout this semester, we grew into more confident, skilled, driven, and professional women. Now we are the proud founders of ‘The Colours of People’. It started as a funny spin-off of ‘People of Colour’ (POC) and an available Instagram name and ended up turning into a well-known initiative and project in the Anti-racism field.
We created an Instagram page called ‘The Colours of People’. We want to encourage the Dutch society to stand up against the racial injustices that People of Colour face. We strive to create a sense of empowerment, start a movement, be a source of information, and provide tools to engage in conversations about race the right way. In short, they want to inform, engage, and create.
Check out the Instagram page: @thecoloursofpeople
What does ‘The Colours of People’ stand for? It stands for celebrating diversity, uniqueness, and differences. In a multicultural society, with many different ethnic groups, many stereotypes and prejudices exist. People easily put others in a ‘box’ or ‘group’. They define and judge people based on their ethnicity, skin colour, and believe this is all there is to them. With this account, we want to show the true colours of these people, the real story behind each face.
In the upcoming months, ‘The Colours of People’, with support from Amnesty International, will implement the “Mensenrechtendialogen” in Windesheim Honours College. The “Mensenrechtendialogen” are dialogues focused on discrimination and racism. These dialogues are held to get participants to talk and share their views on a certain topic. We believe that having conversations about racism and discrimination is very necessary. The plan of incorporating these dialogues into the curriculum at WHC is only the beginning. We have big dreams of expanding into Windesheim, and other schools such as Deltion.
What started as a dream, became an even better reality. This is just the beginning.