It’s time to take a step back from the fitness and health tips and talk with you about something incredibly important to myself and the Velocity community. As an ex-pat of the United States, I am closely following the protests against not only the death of George Floyd, but the larger problem of discrimination and systematic injustice.
As a white man from a privileged background, I cannot begin to fully understand the experiences of fear and anger that are finally reaching a tipping point across the world. However, I recognize that we must all do our best to listen, educate ourselves, and use our privilege to support those of different races and experiences to our own.
Racism Knows No Borders
Although the narrative in the news at the moment is primarily focused on events taking place in the US, it is important to recognize that racism and systematic injustice is not only a problem over there. This is becoming more and more transparent as the protests reach cities across the globe.
Racism in Switzerland
Here are just a few facts from various Swiss sources such as humanrights.ch and the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs:
- Xenophobia, hostility towards black people, and anti-Islamic sentiments are the most common types of discrimination seen in Switzerland.
- One report found that there was a 27% increase in racist acts in public places and violent attacks spurred by far-right ideologies between 2018 and 2019.
- Reported cases of discrimination tend to be lower than the actual number of incidents that actually occur. According to a survey done by the Eidg. Department des Inneren, Fachstelle für Rassismusbekämpfung (FRB), 24% of the population has experienced some form of discrimination in the last 5 years as a result of a group they belong to. The participants sited their language (27%), nationality (58%), skin color (15%), and religion (15%) as the reasons for their experience.
- Black people here in Switzerland have also been found to be disproportionately affected by police brutality compared to other races. You can read about one such example here – This article tells the story of Wilson A. who was strangled by police officers to the point of hospitalization back in 2009. Although there are more recent and deadly cases than this, I use this example because of its striking similarities to the George Floyd case.
It is true that racial dynamics and events vary from country to country – but these facts prove that there are important conversations to be had here in Switzerland as well. As a community that believes in inclusiveness, kindness, and equality, we see it as our duty to not only support those affected but to use our platform to spark these discussions.
Velocity Stands With You
It goes without saying that no one should ever be punished for where they came from or what they look like. It should be a fundamental right to be treated equally and to have equal access to opportunities. However, this is unfortunately not the reality we live in.
In light of the racial discrimination protests and in honor of Pride Month, we want to let you know that Velocity always has your back.
We are and always have been an inclusive community for everyone, regardless of one’s color of skin, sexual orientation, religion, or anything else. Our staff and clients are a diverse group of personalities with multicultural backgrounds, and we believe equality and kindness are key to the success of everyone.
Let’s Do Our Part
We want to encourage our community to become active allies in the world. Through education, self-reflection, uncomfortable discussions, and concrete action we can build a world that doesn’t discriminate against others. A world that doesn’t fear or envy, but instead lifts each other up.
- Let’s do our part to make sure those who are exhausted and suffering know we stand for them.
- Let’s take time to educate ourselves on the matter and find out how we can actively fight the problem
- Let’s advocate for change in our systems that prevent what happened to George Floyd and many others across the globe from happening again.
- Let’s speak out online, but ALSO take concrete action against discrimination of all kinds offline in our daily lives.
- Let’s open up our hearts, ears, and eyes and show empathy for our fellow human beings, then go out and help transform the world to be more accepting of all people.
People are meant to evolve, but peace is unachievable unless there are those of us who champion it. Let’s be part of the change we want to see in this world.
Ride for Equality
One way we want to do this is by raising funds for organizations that are actively making a difference on a larger scale. On June 8th, we will be hosting our Ride for Equality and we will donate 15 CHF per rider to Amnesty International’s fund against Discrimination.
Since it is also Pride Month, we will also have two Pride Rides on June 19th and the 20th led by Aaron and Alessandra. For these rides, we encourage you to dress up and celebrate the beauty of diversity with us!
I’ll end this with some information for those of you who would like to read further about these issues and the groups that provide support. This is a list of organizations working against discrimination of all kinds, and some places you can read more on the topic itself:
- Service for Combating Racism (SCRA): Federal government body tasked with preventing racism. It plans, develops, promotes, and coordinates relevant activities at the federal, cantonal, and communal levels. They provide legal protection, awareness-raising, and financial support for those affected by racism.
- Beratungsnetz für Rassismusopfer : This network provides incident reports and has a network consisting of eleven specialized offices from all over Switzerland offering counseling in cases of racist discrimination.
- Pink Cross : Swiss umbrella organization for gay and bi men. They represent the interests of gay and bi men vis-à-vis politics, administration and the public. Through political persuasion and active media policy, Pink Cross wants to enforce self-determined gay and bi life as an equal way of life in Swiss society.
- LOS : Represent lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Switzerland. They represent the interests through politics, public opinion, information, and community support.
- Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS): TGNS aims to represent the interests and connect individual trans people, their local groups and organizations. They also assist the media and the public with specialist knowledge and experience.
- Information on Discrimination: The American Psychology Association aims to define discrimination and what we can do about it.
- Black Lives Matter : More information on the ongoing situation in the United States and the fight for freedom, equality, and justice.