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Why it's still important we acknowledge...

...tomorrow's, March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. While the COVID-19 outbreak dominates headlines as the global death toll surpasses 10,000 and Italy officially becomes the worst impacted country around the world, it is difficult to discuss anything else. But we must pay tribute to this incredibly important international day, particularly during this time, as despite the banding together of communities, racism is still prevailing.

As Trump continues to refer to the coronavirus outbreak as the "Chinese virus" as well as an "Alien disease", it is crucial that we continuously negate such hate speech; words have an impact, and as a result reports of racial violence – both verbal and physical – have flooded in.

Indeed these trying times are proving that kindness and humility prevail despite it all, but let us not forget that we need to come together to protect the most vulnerable and send out a clear message: discrimination, hate, and racism will never win.

Read, Debate: Engage.

The good

Acts of kindness

One thing we can all agree on is that while these are unprecedented times, the stories of kindness shared online – across the news and our social media feeds – are a heartwarming respite and proof that kindness always wins over selfishness and cruelty.

Here are five good news from around the world to keep your spirits up.

  1. A grocery store owner and her husband, Asiyah and Jawad Javed, are handing out parcels of hand sanitiser and face masks to the sick and elderly in central Scotland to help protect them against the coronavirus.
  2. At a research centre in Seattle, U.S., this week, Jennifer Haller, a mother of two, who doesn't have the virus, became the first human to be given a potential vaccine.
  3. The water flowing the through Venice canals is the clearest and cleanest it has been for decades. The fish can be seen inside and the swans are back.
  4. China recorded zero new cases of infection yesterday as the country is potentially becoming the first in the world to lead the way of what life will be like after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The bad

Hate crime is rising during the coronavirus pandemic

Just two days ago the New York Times released an op-ed titled 'The Rise of Coronavirus Hate Crimes', where journalist Anna Russel reports on how during "late February, Jonathan Mok was walking down London’s busy Oxford Street, when he was attacked". 23-year-0ld Mok is from Singapore, and the beating left him with a swollen eye the size of a "golf ball" as he showed it to the world on Facebook, writing "The guy who tried to kick me then said, ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country’”.

A few days ago, on a New York City subway train, a man sprayed an Asian passenger with Febreze and verbally abused him. At the same time, Russell reports how "Last week, a Vietnamese curator, An Nguyen, posted an e-mail from a gallerist preparing to exhibit at London’s Affordable Art Fair. The gallerist asked Nguyen not to come to assist with the booth."

Race Forward is an organisation that catalyses movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

Support Race Forward's mission to eliminate racism, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Country focus

With a population of close to 50 million, Spain is a historically powerful and crucial economy and country within Europe. Due to its geographical location at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe, and Africa, it has played an important role both politically as well as culturally between the world's nations.

Spain was a powerful colonising force and spread its ideology, culture, and religion across the world starting during the 15th century, becoming a global empire by the fifteen hundreds all the way until its fall in the 19th century.

Between 1936-39 Spain went through a severe civil war followed by the decades-long dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Only after his death in 1975, Spain has made the transition to democracy and built a modern economy.

The country is made up of 17 regions that have their own directly elected authorities. But much of recent history has seen separatism prevail, with Catalonia and the Basque Country fighting for their independence.