The new slogan of Eurovision 2017, which will be held in Kyiv in May, is Celebrate Diversity.
“The notion of celebrating diversity is at the heart of Eurovision values: it is all-inclusive and all about countries around Europe, and beyond, joining together to celebrate both our common ground and our unique differences, as well as some great music,” – said Eurovision exec Jon Ola Sand.
What does this mysterious word mean? How do we celebrate diversity?
Diversity demonstrates ways in which people are different and alike.
Celebrating diversity means creating a kind of environment where the differences between people are valued and used for the greater good.
All people are very different. There are people with different skin colors, political and religious beliefs, different sexual orientation and gender identity, different ages and ethnic origins, hard of hearing or sight impaired, disabled. But every person makes our world diverse and unique.
So, how can we “celebrate diversity” while waiting for Eurovision in Kyiv?
Here are the ten possible ways.
1. Become a volunteer for an organization whose aim is promotion of diversity and inclusion of discriminated groups in Ukraine. For instance, Coalition of Anti-Discrimination in Ukraine.
2. Draw a poster to take part in the Equality March – the annual march to support the equality of human rights for everyone, in particular the LGBT community. This year’s march will take place after Eurovision, probably in June.
3. Learn the essential phrases in sign language to communicate with Deaf or Hard of hearing. Take up free courses of Ukrainian sign language to the Ukrainian Deaf Community or online courses that are available on the Internet. It is really nice to say “Thanks” in sign language (touch a fist to the forehead and then to the lips) at Auchan checkout counter, where you can often encounter employees who are hard of hearing.
4. Buy your kid the new book Maya and Her Moms by famous Ukrainian writer Larysa Denysenko. It’s a story about a child and about family. About 17 children and 17 kinds of families.
As the author herself writes on her Facebook page, “Families can be different, and they already are different; some people label families as non-traditional, incomplete, restructured. They label children as well: orphan, parentless, Skype child, formula child. I try to convey the message that a child needs a loving family where they feel protected, and it does not matter how it is labeled by anyone.
5. Listen to journalist Olha Vesnianka’s Romani radio Chiriklo (“a bird” in Romani) in the Rankova Khvylia program on Hromadske radio.
Radio Chiriklo’s mission is to showcase the Romani voice, promote information about safety, health, human rights and ethnic and national policy. It furthers the increase in rights and power of the Romani community, facilitates communication and mutual understanding.
6. Start using feminine forms of nouns in everyday speech and become a contributor of the Feminism UA community on Facebook. Currently, there are over 4000 active people in the community. Through this group, Anastasiya Melnychenko’s flashmob #I’mNotAfraidToSayIt took off.
7. Sign up to a free course on Jewish history in Moishe House in Kyiv. It offers great lecturers and a beautiful view of Kyiv. Or choose any other culture that can introduce you to a new unique world.
8. Think twice before wishing somebody happy Easter or any other religious holiday. It is quite possible that not all of your colleagues are Orthodox. Besides, some people do not practice any religion.
9. Get inspired by the videos by Dmytro Shchebetiuk, a member of the Ukrainian Paralympic Archery Team, the founder of Dostupno.UA, a guy with a great deal of energy and a charming smile. Start your workouts on the basis of his motivating program.
10. Make a donation to the Inclusive Thespian Improvisation Studio on the biggggidea.com website. This is a studio for representatives of various communities, which aims at creating a space for developing the culture of diversity and promoting dialog.
Societies built on the principles of inclusivity and respect for human rights are more dynamic and sustainable in their development, as this condition means mutual understanding and willingness to compromise, and energy is spent not on “unnecessary” conflicts but on mutual development instead.
The new motto of Eurovision 2017 proves our desire to change and build the society on the principles of diversity and inclusion.
Let’s celebrate diversity together!